THE lack of inspectors to enforce fire safety regulations in buildings and houses is a problem for the Cebu City Fire Station.
Chief Insp. Virginia Toledo, deputy fire marshal, told reporters yesterday that they could not possibly cover the entire city in a year with less than 20 inspectors to do the job.
They are supposed to conduct an inspection yearly.
“Pero sa kadako sa syudad, usahay wa pa natiwas ug inspection unya nahuman na ang tuig (We can’t cover the entire city in a year’s time),” Toledo said.
Cebu City Fire Marshal Esmael Codilla said they can only inspect pension houses, boarding houses and hotels regularly.
As for private dwellings, Codilla said they can only do so if there is a complaint.
Toledo also noted that some apartment owners do not declare they are leasing the property and only claim that they let their relatives live there.
As for new structures, the process is for occupants to secure a fire safety certificate before occupying a house.
However, fire officials noted that even before they can issue a fire safety certificate, some already occupy the buildings.
Toledo said they are inclined to believe the electrical connections of an apartment had something to do with the fire Thursday dawn.
She said there should be more than one exit to give occupants a chance to get out in case the main door is already on fire.
Toledo also said that wirings should be checked regularly, especially with older buildings, adding that wires that have been chewed on by mice can cause sparks.
Investigators have yet to determine how the fire in Barangay Capitol Site that claimed four lives started.
Yesterday, a house on Diego Silang St., Villa Aurora, Barangay Kasambagan caught fire at 11:45 a.m.
Spouses Audie and Cecilia Saa and their two children were not home as they were at work when the fire hit.
Toledo placed the damage at P100,000 and declared it a first alarm.
Cecilia told reporters she could not say yet how the fire started. She assured that before they all leave the house, they unplug all their appliances.