THE Baguio fire department reported a significant increase in the number of fire incidents in the city for the first part of the year with 26 recorded compared to 10 registered during the same period last year.
Senior Fire Officer 2 Camilo Balancia, Baguio fire department public information officer, said of the 26 fire incidents that were recorded this year, 21 were grass fires, two were structural and vehicular fires, and one was a garbage fire.
In 2017, the Baguio fire department registered a total of 75 fire incidents that resulted to over P11.9 million worth of damages to properties wherein 50 fire incidents were said to be structural fires.
Last year, Balancia said there were 79 fire incidents that inflicted over P22.6 million worth of damages to properties with a single fatality wherein 41 were said to be structural or forest fires.
He added there were only 20 grass fires last year but for the first 40 days of this year, there were already 21 grass fires that were attended to by firefighters from the central fire stations and the different fire substations that were established in strategic areas in the city.
For the first two months of 2018, the fire officer revealed that there were only 16 fire incidents that were recorded wherein nine were in January and seven in February but for this year, there were 16 in January and 10 within the first 12 days of February which is a cause of concern among firefighters.
“We remain optimistic that there will be lesser fire incidents this year so that there will be lesser damages to private and public properties,” Balancia stressed.
He added the Baguio Fire Department has a manpower of 73 personnel with 11 exiting fire trucks although three of the said trucks are due for repair.
Six of the fire trucks are courtesy of the local government while the five trucks were procured by the Bureau of Fire Protection (BFP).
For this year, the local government will again procure another brand new fire truck for the Baguio fire department which could be used to enhance the bureau’s firefighting capability.
Aside from the central fire station, the Baguio fire department also administers the operation of three fire substations that were constructed by the local government in Irisan, Aurora Hill and the newly opened fire substation in Quirino Hill.
The local government is eying the construction of additional fir substations in the Pacdal, Loakan and Crystal Cave areas to boost the timely response of firefighters to reported fire incidents within their areas of jurisdiction that will contribute in sparing properties from being damaged and lives from being lost.
Balancia emphasized among the reasons that trigger the occurrence of structural fires are related to unattended candles and cooking equipment and defective electrical connection while the primary causes of grass fires are lighted cigarette butts thrown into areas with the presence of dried materials and unattended backyard fires. (PR)