Mayor pushes for intensified fire response in 119 red zones

Mayor Alfredo “Albee” Benitez meets with the Bureau of Fire Protection (BFP)-Bacolod led by Chief Inspector Stephen Jardeleza, city fire marshal, at the Mayor’s Office Wednesday to discuss the necessary steps in addressing the 119 red zones in case of fire incidents in Bacolod City. (Photo courtesy of Bacolod PIO)

By Glazyl Y. Masculino

BACOLOD City – Mayor Alfredo “Albee” Benitez urged the Bureau of Fire Protection (BFP)-Bacolod to continue coordinating with the city government for the mapping of critical areas or red zones in case of fire incidents here.

Benitez met with Chief Inspector Stephen Jardeleza, city fire marshal, at the Mayor’s Office yesterday following the reported increase in the number of fire incidents here in the past months.

Benitez said the BFP has identified 119 red zones or areas that are hard to access in case of fire incidents here.

The mayor said that he wanted to intensify emergency response in these areas.

In a press briefing last Monday, Benitez said that he would also meet with the barangay captains to find a way to ensure the necessary measures for fire prevention.

Last year, the mayor has called on barangays here to take extra precautions in communities identified as red zones.

Benitez said that firefighters would have difficulty penetrating the fire scene because of narrow passageways, and some houses even tend to obstruct.

He said that the city’s housing program is designed for informal settlers, to enable them to have a comfortable place to stay. “Let’s address that again,” he added.

During the meeting, the BFP also shared their notable accomplishments, including the increased participation in barangay-based activities, the launching of their Snorkel Magazine, and the ongoing Fire Square Roadshow.

Meanwhile, Alma Gustilo, officer-in-charge of the Department of Social Services and Development (DSSD), said that at least five fire incidents have been reported since January.

In the recent fire incident at Purok Providence, Barangay Sum-ag here last Sunday, Gustilo said that 43 individuals or nine families, including two sharers and one renter have been affected.

Gustilo said that the city is already processing the financial assistance for the fire victims.

Senior Fire Officer 4 Jereck Barbas, ground commander, said that three houses were partially damaged, while three others were destroyed.

Barbas said that an unattended candle was the cause of the blaze that left an estimated P43,750 worth of damage.

There was a power interruption that morning and the occupant decided to light a candle, but she forgot about it after she left their house, he added.

Based on the record of the BFP, a total of 46 fire incidents were reported from January 1 to February 13, leaving an estimated P8,911,000 worth of damages.

Of the figure, 30 fire incidents were reported in January, and 16 this month.

Records showed that 20 residential fires occurred, followed by six grass/sugarcane fires, five each for vehicular and rubbish fires, three commercial fires, two each for electrical/post fire, business, and storage fire, and one industrial fire.

The BFP said that 28 out of the 46 recorded fire incidents were categorized under minimal damage fire incidents.