THE Bureau of Fire Protection (BFP) in the Davao Region on Wednesday expressed disappointment over "misbehavior" on the road of some motorists whom it claimed caused the delay in responding to a fire incident on Tuesday afternoon in Bucana, Davao City.
Senior Fire Officer 4 Dioscono Baja Jr. said in Wednesday's weekly AFP-PNP press conference at the Davao City Police Office (DCPO) that the standard time for a fire truck to reach the site of the incident is supposed to be only five minutes.
Baja said it took them more than ten minutes to arrive at Purok 13-B, Kasilak Riverside in Barangay 76-A, Bucana last Tuesday where a fire razed 61 houses and killed two elderly women.
Nicanora Isdangm 86, a paralytic, was trapped inside her house and her burned body was discovered by rescuing firemen. They also found the body of 78-year old Hermisa Doctolero. Two children were also reported missing but there was no confirmation if they perished in the fire.
“We encountered two delays on our way to the area and five minutes were wasted when a lot of motorists and tricycle drivers blocked the route of the responding firetrucks. In our calculation, during those five minutes where we had a hard time pleading the drivers to stay far from our way, we could have saved three houses already,” Baja explained.
He also said that the bureau has been conducting regular lectures on communities regarding fire prevention.
“The problem is, a month after the lecture, people would already forget about the guidelines and the must-do during emergencies,” Baja said.
He added that every year, they recorded at least two fire incidents to occur in Bucana even with the continued fire prevention campaign of the BFP in the area.
Meanwhile, the BFP still could not identify the cause of the fire but they are considering the account of the witness, Willie Loquero, a resident of the area who saw two children suspiciously running away from a house before the fire broke out.
Baja said their rough estimate on the total damage of the fire is P4.5 million.
City Social Services and Development Office (CSSDO) assistant chair Liwayway Caligdong reported there were about 234 dependents who were left homeless due to the incident and are taking shelter at the Kasilak, Manggahan Gym.
"Financial assistance will be given after the final validation this Wednesday. We will produce the payroll afterwards," Caligdong said.
The owners of the destroyed houses will be given P10,000 while the owners of the damaged houses will receive P5,000. For the borders and renters, the City Government will provide P3,000 each.