Twin fires bare local BFP’s problems

BUREAU of Fire Protection (BFP) officials led by Senior Superintendent Roderick Aguto, newly-designated regional director of BFP in Western Visayas, visit the SM Hypermart at Barangay Handumanan, Bacolod City after it was razed by fire last Monday. (BFP-Negros Occidental Photo)

By: Dolly Yasa

BACOLOD City – The twin fires that struck Purok Cagaycay in Barangay 2, and the SM Hypermart in Barangay Handumanan here exposed the problems plaguing the local Bureau of Fire Protection (BFP) force.

Fire Chief Insp. Publio Ploteña, BFP-Bacolod fire marshal, said they lack additional fire fighting equipment, such as a dedicated tanker truck, which could be used to resupply water to fire trucks that respond to conflagrations.

Ploteña said they also need 17 fire trucks in order to attain a ratio of one fire truck for every 20,000 people.

Presently, BFP-Bacolod has 11 fire trucks but only eight are functional.

The city’s BFP also lack fire-fighters as they only have 82 personnel distributed to various fire stations.

Ploteña said they need 200 additional personnel to fill in the manpower gap.

These issues were already brought up with Bacolod City Mayor Evelio Leonardia during the city’s peace and order council meeting earlier this month, and the city government along with non-government organization already pledged to help.

Ploteña also forwarded the issue to the BFP Regional Office-6, and they have started receiving new fire-fighting equipment in the past months.