THE local fire bureau said fire incidents in March would increase before the Fire Prevention Month ends due to the extreme heat brought about the El Niño phenomenon.

The Bureau of Fire Protection (BFP) in Davao Region has recorded 17 fire incidents from March 1 until Friday, March 19 compared to last year’s record showing only 16 incidents for the whole month of March.

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Fire Inspector Rodolfo B. Alocelja, chief of BFP's investigation and interrogation division, said this month’s fire incidents have damaged properties estimated to total to P5 million.

The biggest fire incident was in Mabini, Boulevard on March 12 with an estimated damage to property pegged at P1.5 million. The incident also razed 10 houses and one of them was partially damaged.

Alocelja said results of initial investigation showed that most of the 17 fire incidents were caused by substandard electrical products and faulty wire installations.

Multiple outlets and the use of China-made substandard electrical products were also noted in the fire incidents, he said.

Alocelja urged the public to hire only licensed electricians to install electrical wirings.

He also reminded Dabawenyos to exercise caution and practice fire prevention measures amidst the hot weather.

"We must periodically check our electrical appliances and outlet to prevent fire, every day should be fire prevention day," he added.

Meanwhile, in commemoration of the Fire Prevention Month, BFP in Davao Rehion will be holding Fire Olympics at Sta. Ana Pier on March 26 that will be participated in by BFP personnel, barangays, and private sector volunteers.

Alocelja said the olympics aims to showcase BFP's capabilities in responding to fire.