FOUR persons were injured when a truck carrying butane canisters exploded following a collision with a school service vehicle in Barangay San Isidro, Talisay City yesterday morning.

Edmar Luad, 21, was driving his truck carrying around 6,000 butane canisters on the Cebu South Coastal Road (CSCR) and was heading south of Cebu.

Upon reaching Barangay San Isidro at around 6:25 a.m, the truck collided with a school service vehicle, driven by Enrique Geraldez.

Geraldez told reporters yesterday that he was driving three passengers to a private school in Barangay Bulacao when, upon making a left turn towards Barangay Tabunok, a speeding truck his vehicle’s rear.

The collision caused Luad’s truck to overturn and topple towards a nearby auto repair shop where it suddenly exploded due to his cargo of butane canisters catching fire.

SFO2 Sherwin Algoso of the Talisay City Fire Department said that the fire caused by the exploding butane cannisters damaged 10 vehicles, including some motorcycles and cars parked at the auto shop where the truck toppled.

PO1 Resauro Pasumala of the Talisay City Traffic Division said that while Luad came out unscathed, around four people, including the truck driver’s two helpers and a student, earned injuries due to the incident.

Geraldez had injuries on his left leg while one his passengers, Mary Camille Escraman, got bruises on her left arm.

Luad’s two helpers, who were unidentified as of press time, also sustained injuries and were immediately brought to the Talisay District Hospital for medical attention.

Pasumala said that both drivers have been invited at their station for further questioning.

Their licenses have also been confiscated following an investigation.


Ordinance

Cebu City Acting Vice Mayor David Tumulak wants to refile his proposed City Ordinance (CO) regulating the selling and transport of butane and Liquid Petroleum Gas (LPG) canisters.

In a press conference yesterday, Tumulak said he authored the ordinance during the thirteenth Sangguniang Panlungsod, but it was not passed, after the City Council resolved to have it referred to the Committee on Energy instead.

“It wasn’t pushed through. Referred to the committee, but they haven’t rendered a report up to now. I’m going to refile this now because there are prohibitions involving the maintenance of these canisters,” he said.

But he clarified that instead of a total ban, the proposed CO promotes responsible usage of butane and making sure that they dispose the canisters properly as these are ideally only good for one use.

The prohibitions provided by the CO include requiring retailers to have fire extinguishers in their respective stores, keeping the canisters in a cool, dry place and displaying a “No Smoking” signage at least a few meters from the store.

Canisters must be transported using an enclosed, well-ventilated vehicle and a clearance from the Bureau of Fire Protection (BFP) must be secured as well before selling butane and LPG.

Aside from this, Tumulak wants the Department of Energy, Philippine National Police and Department of Trade and Industry to strengthen their efforts in identifying those who are selling butane and LPG refills as these are hazardous.

“Refilling is illegal. The use is okay, but if you’ve used it up, don’t resort to refilling. You can use those with thick containers, but not the canister, which is purely aluminum,” he said.

He recalled that last year, a refilling station illegally operating in Barangay Kinasang-an was identified, but was not acted upon by authorities.

With this, he also urged the barangay officials to help out in identifying illegal operators as a move also to educate the village on the harm butane refilling can cause.

The BFP recorded three cases of fire incidents caused by butane and/or LPG usage in 2010.

From three, it rose to 10 the following year and again, lowered to three in 2012.

While there were no recorded incidents in 2013, about 22 cases occurred in 2014, but again decreased to six by 2015.

“This is alarming that’s why people should be aware of the dangers when they decide to use butane in their households,” Tumulak said. with Jyda Yeecynth Ang, USJ-R Intern