Cebu News

Fire department lacks equipment, gear

The Freeman
Fire department lacks equipment, gear
Volunteers from the Filipino-Chinese Fire Brigade work on putting out the fire that hit a residential area in Barangay Duljo Fatima, Cebu City yesterday morning.
Aldo Nelbert Banaynal

CEBU, Philippines — Lack of gears and defective equipment are among the reasons why the Cebu City Fire Station has “very minimal capability” in addressing fires in medium and high-rise buildings.

This was disclosed by City Fire Marshall Noel Nelson Ababon during the executive session conducted by the City Council yesterday to discuss the fire that hit Metro Ayala last January 5.

“We have very minimal capability,” he told the Council.

Ababon said the fire in Metro Ayala and in Barangay Pasil last Sunday damaged some of their existing equipment such as hoses, breathing apparatus, compressors, old ladder truck, fire trucks, among others.

He said the fire department needs additional equipment like fire hoses, water tanks, thermal imaging camera, and breathing apparatus.

“We have to complete the inventory of all our equipment para makahatag mi sa central office kon unsay kulang pa namo. We will also provide a copy of the inventory to the city government,” he said.

Ababon said the fire department will also audit the equipment of the fire volunteers because he has observed that there are some gear that are no longer functional.

He said there’s a need to properly coordinate with volunteers in positioning the gears.

Councilor Margarita Osmeña said the city government will wait for a copy of the fire department’s “wish list.”

Vice Mayor Edgardo Labella told Ababon that purchasing equipment for the fire department is not difficult to achieve, albeit asking that the department maintain these properly.

Councilor Eduardo Rama said the fire department should also check old buildings if they are compliant with the updated fire code.

Metro Ayala, Ababon said, complied with the fire code.

He said the central office has taken over the investigation of the fire there since the estimated damaged has reached over P50 million. The investigation is expected to be concluded within the week.

As for Metro Ayala’s sprinkler system, Ababon said some sprinklers’ filaments burst, which means they functioned.

“Nakita namo nga naay ning burst nga filaments of the sprinklers. But as to unsa kadali o kadugay ni function, dili mi makaingon ana,” he said.

One of the reasons why the firefighters had difficulty putting the fire out was the high temperature inside the building and the absence of ventilation, he said.

Atty. Jeanette Japzon of Cebu Holdings Inc. said Ayala Center Cebu is still waiting for the removal of some equipment before it will open.

She said the mall wants to ensure the safety of the shoppers before it will operate fully again.

The council placed Sitio Lawis I, II, and Riverside Barangay Pasil under a state of calamity.

The resolution was penned by Osmeña who said the declaration is needed so that the city government can utilize this year’s Local Disaster Risk Reduction Management Funds to support humanitarian relief, rehabilitation, response, financial assistance, and other related efforts of the city.

Based on records of the city’s Department of Social Welfare and Services, the fire damaged at least 326 houses and affected 711 families or 3,570 individuals.

Duljo fire

Meanwhile, the fire in Sitio Carlock, Barangay Duljo Fatima, Cebu City yesterday was traced to the house of one Leticia Geitutua.

Senior Fire Officer 1 Dina Marikit said they received the alarm at 8:19 a.m. and placed it under control after about 26 minutes.

No one was injured in the incident.

“Mao ni ikanapulo nga sunog atong nadawat kagahapon sukad niadtong Enero diin ang dagko lang naglangkob sa Metro Ayala, Barangay Pasil, ug kining karon nga sunog, samtang ang uban ginagmay lang ug wala ra usab maglisod atong kabomberohan ani nga sunog karon kay aduna man dalan," Marikit said. (FREEMAN)

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