Car battery causes residential fire

Mayor Alfredo “Albee” Benitez meets with the BFP and other concerned agencies and departments at the Session Hall of the Bacolod City Government Center Friday to address pressing issues related to disaster response and firefighting strategies in the city especially in the recent fire incident in Barangay 7 on July 6. (Photo courtesy of Bacolod PIO)

By Glazyl Y. Masculino

BACOLOD City – The Bureau of Fire Protection (BFP)-Bacolod is looking into reports of a car battery used as a source of electricity as the cause of fire that gutted 29 houses at Purok Magnolia, Barangay 7 here last Thursday.

Chief Inspector Stephen Jardeleza, city fire marshal, said that Richard Benjamen left his house and went to the village chief that night when the fire broke out at his home five minutes later.

Jardeleza said that 27 houses were destroyed while two others were damaged in a blaze that started around 11 p.m.

Sixteen persons suffered minor injuries, while 66 families, including five sharers and 32 renters were affected by the blaze.

The fire was declared fire out at 1:36 a.m. The fire gobbled an estimated P350,000 worth of properties.

Jardeleza said the circumstantial evidence corroborated the statement of a witness who saw the blaze reportedly originating from Benjamen’s house.

“Missing na siya (Benjamen). Wala na siya makita after the incident,” he said.

But the city fire marshal noted that based on their investigation, the fire was an accident and not intentional.

Jardeleza said the pieces of evidence that were gathered from the fire scene were sent to the arson laboratory of the BFP national headquarters for further examination.

Mayor Alfredo “Albee” Benitez, who also responded to the incident, earlier said he saw some lapses during the fire response, but Jardeleza said they were able to stop the fire before it spread to other structures.

“Wala kami lapses. Napatay namon ang kalayo on time,” he said.

Benitez met with the BFP and other involved agencies and departments last Friday to address pressing issues related to disaster response and firefighting strategies in the city especially in the recent fire incident.

Jardeleza said the mayor just wanted to improve the fire response.

He said that it was proposed during the meeting to have additional water hydrants, to identify critical and congested areas, and to conduct barangay trainings.

According to the local government, one of the focal points of the discussion was the necessity of incorporating drones into the city’s emergency response system.

The participants acknowledged that there are instances where accessing affected areas becomes challenging or dangerous.

Thus, by utilizing drones equipped with visual technology, they can effectively locate and assess emergency situations.

Also, to enhance the efficiency of emergency protocols, the meeting highlighted the importance of establishing red zones within the barangays, which will serve as a means to alert residents about specific protocols to follow during emergencies, particularly in the case of fire incidents.

Moreover, the meeting explored the feasibility of procuring additional water tankers to ensure an adequate water supply for all the fire brigades operating in the city.