IRONIC: 77 fire incidents occurred in city during Fire Prevention Month

A CHILD salvages anything of value from their burnt house at Barangay Tanza Timawa, City Proper, Iloilo City. Twenty-seven houses were razed when a fire broke out late evening of March 31, 2019, the last day of the Fire Prevention Month, in one of the heavily populated villages of the city. (Photo courtesy of Angel Zaldivar Alison)

By: Emme Rose Santiagudo

Just for the month of March 2019, the Iloilo City Bureau of Fire Protection (BFP) recorded 77 fire incidents with one fatality.

Senior Fire Officer 3 Aquilino Sampiano of the BFP said the number is higher compared to 34 incidents in the same month last year.

“We recorded 77 fire calls for the month of March. Out of which, 24 were grassfire, 22 were structural, 21 electrical pole fire, eight rubbish fire, and two vehicular fires,” he said.

Damage to properties was estimated at P2,801,300, Sampiano added.

The most recent was a fire that broke out in Zone 12, Barangay Calaparan, Arevalo district on Sunday.

According to BFP, more or less P750, 000 in properties were lost due to the fire that gutted out 13 houses and partially damaged six houses.

On Mar 5, 2019, a 43-year old man also died in a fire that burned the village of Bakhaw in Mandurriao district.

The victim, Cris Vincent Mauricio failed to get out of his room during the fire.

Sampiano lamented that fires usually broke out in congested barangays.

“Ang mga nasunugan congested and with small alleys. Usually, isa lang tawo kaagi. Mabudlay kay ang fire sa tunga sang dalan,” he said.

He underscored the need for barangays to establish fire brigades to serve as front liners when fires erupt. 

“I would like to recommend nga ma-organize fire brigade ang each barangay to serve as front liners para in the mean time during the fire, maka-respond sila immediately. Ang tendency sang mga pumuluyo malagyo sila kag secure lang nila ila lawas,” Sampiano said.

Sampiano said the BFP is open to train capable men, teenagers, or barangay tanods to serve as fire brigades in their respective barangays.

“Kami willing kami magtrain sang mga tanods or any volunteers from their barangays. They can form fire brigades in their barangays with minimum of 15 members,” he said.

He also encouraged residents to store water in their houses to be used for emergency purposes.

Meanwhile, Mayor Jose Espinosa III on Monday intimated his plans to put up fire alleys particularly on fire hazardous barangays.

“Ginatan-aw ta da, mabutang kita sang fire alleys sa kada barangay para mahawan gid para masulod sang fire trucks,” he said.

Espinosa said fire trucks find it difficult to access barangays with vehicles that are parking and obstructing the alleys.

“Amo na i-designan kag i-identify ang most hazardous area sa barangay. Then we will see to it nga biskan gabi wala sang may maka-parking dira, wala sang obstruction, kay ang aton fire trucks indi makasulod,” he said.

While the Fire Prevention Month ended in March, Sampiano emphasized that residents should treat every day as fire prevention day.

“Always treat every day as fire prevention day, it does not mean nga tapos na ang fire prevention month, tapos na ang aton responsibility,” he said.