Surge in fire damage hits Mandaue City in early 2024

Mandaue City Hall (File photo: Mandaue City Public Information Office)
Mandaue City Hall (File photo: Mandaue City Public Information Office)

THE Bureau of Fire Protection (BFP) Mandaue City logged an 800 percent increase in fire damage during the first two months of 2024 compared to the same period in 2023.

Arnel Abella, head of BFP Mandaue City, reported that their office recorded around P1.7 million worth of fire damage to property from January to February 2024. This marks a rise of about P1.5 million compared to the same period last year, which totaled only P179,250.

Fire damage refers to the damage to property as a result of burning.

Abella, in a media interview on Friday, March 1, 2024, said the damage recorded in 2024 primarily affected single-family houses, most of which were constructed with light materials.

Despite the increase in damage, BFP Mandaue’s data shows a slight decrease in recorded fire incidents from January to February 2024, with only seven incidents compared to eight in the same period in 2023.

Abella urged the public to ensure their homes are safe from fire hazards by regularly checking wiring connections and replacing any dilapidated wiring. He said faulty wiring connections remain the leading cause of fire incidents in the city.

He advises against electrical overloading and plugging in too many devices on a single circuit. He also warned against leaving the kitchen unattended while using LPG tanks, butane canisters or any other fire-igniting materials.

Abella explained that when too much electrical current passes through the electric wires by plugging in too many gadgets, the wires may heat up and melt, which could start a fire. Hence, he said it is essential to be cautious and follow safety measures to prevent fire accidents.

Super water tankers

In a separate interview on March 1, Mandaue City Mayor Jonas Cortes announced that the City Government has purchased super water tanker trucks to augment the fire equipment of the BFP Mandaue.

Abella said the Mandaue City Government has allocated approximately P20 million for the procurement of these water tankers and the Mandaue City Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office (MCDRRMO) already facilitated the procurement process.

He said these water tankers can store a considerably larger amount of water than regular ones, enabling immediate response to fire incidents.

Currently, Abella noted, their office lacks a water tanker truck and relies on the MCDRRMO’s tanker for larger fires.

According to BigRentz, an equipment rental company, a regular water tanker truck can store 2,000-6,000 gallons of water. On the other hand, a larger supertanker can store 8,000-60,000 gallons of water.

Abella said the super water tankers will be delivered within the year.

Fire safety training

Cortes said he also instructed the MCDRRMO to allocate funds for the purchase of additional fire trucks and to conduct more fire safety training for the barangay-based disaster responders.

He said the goal is to empower the barangays as the city expands and traffic congestions worsen, potentially affecting firefighters’ response time.

By training barangay-based disaster responders, they aim to equip and provide the necessary knowledge and support to the villages to improve their capacity to respond to disasters, Cortes added.

According to BFP Mandaue, of the 27 barangays, 14 have their fire brigade trucks.

Fire prevention month

On Friday, March 1, the Mandaue City Government and the BFP Mandaue Office organized a kickoff ceremony at Parkmall Mandaue, Barangay Tipolo, to mark the nationwide Fire Prevention Month celebration.

During the ceremony, representatives from the BFP Mandaue led by Abella, and the Mandaue City Government, led by Cortes, performed a symbolic extinguishing of flame.

The gesture signifies their shared commitment to addressing fire safety concerns and ensuring community well-being through collective responsibility and unity.

Apart from this, Abella said other activities for the fire prevention month include a fire square roadshow, master chef, and poster-making contest. These events will be participated in by the BFP, barangays, business establishments and other stakeholders to raise awareness and promote fire safety.

The office also recently concluded its annual fire Olympics on Feb. 24, in relation to the fire prevention month celebration. / HIC

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