THE twin fires that gutted down more than 200 houses on Wednesday are already the fifth and sixth fire incidents that happened in coastal area in Davao City in just a span of less than a year.
Based on news reports, there were fire incidents that happened on August 6 and 9, October 25 and November 1 last year, all in Bucana, a coastal community.
What makes coastal community fire engulfing thus more damaging? First, houses there are in close proximity to each other that a mistake or electrical wiring failure of one household can gut the whole block or even the whole community.
Second, most houses there are made of light materials, thus, with just one ignition, fire can already reach a few meters away in just a minute and raze several houses.
Third, coastal community is a dense, cramped community that it makes the accessibility of fire trucks and hoses difficult.
Fire incidents are not new in this community. In fact, some of the residents there are already victims or have experienced several fire incidents during their stay in this community.
The recent fire could have been more damaging had it happened during dry season.
With this, time and again, mindfulness and carefulness are strongly advised and must be upheld at all times to prevent such incident from happening ever again. Mindful and careful that electric wirings are checked frequently; that “gasera” or gas lamps, candles, stoves are turned off when not used; electrical appliances are not just turned off but unplugged at all times when not in use; do not patronize electrical equipment or appliances that have not passed quality standards set by a governing body tasked to check their quality; and stop using refillable or refilled butane canisters for stove fuel as these pose fire hazards.
Our simple act of being mindful and careful can go a long way in saving not only our homes and our loved ones’ lives but also our own. As the cliché goes, fire is the only catastrophe that can be prevented. All we need to do is be mindful and careful at all times.