Improperly disposed cigarette butts caused NAIA parking fire

Improperly disposed cigarette butts caused NAIA parking fire
Photo from Radyo Pilipinas

THE fire that gutted 19 vehicles parked at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) Terminal 3 in April this year was caused by improperly disposed cigarette butts, the Bureau of Fire Protection (BFP) said Tuesday, May 21, 2024.

BFP Arson Investigation Division Chief Fire Superintendent Bayani Zambrano said in a television interview that they have collected “a lot” of cigarette butts in the area where the fire reportedly started.

He said a cigarette but burned the fuel hose of a black sports utility vehicle, igniting a bigger fire, worsened by the extremely hot temperature, strong winds, and dried grass, affecting 18 other vehicles.

“No other ignition source except for the cigarette butts, yun ang probable ignition source natin (that’s our probable ignition source). Walang kuryente dun, wala namang pwedeng pagsimulan (There was no power in the area, so no other sources),” he said.

“Parang baga pa lang, parang hinihipan ng hangin ‘yan hanggang sa lumakas nang lumakas. It takes siguro 20 to 25 minutes bago siya tuluyang umapoy at gumapang… Nung nag-drip 'yun, syempre nag-add 'yung fuel load sa dried leaves, doon nabutas hanggang 'yung buong tangke nya ay nabutas nya, kaya medyo malakas yung naging labas ng krudo,” he added.

(It's like an ember blown by the wind until it gets stronger and stronger. It took maybe 20 to 25 minutes before the vehicle finally caught fire and then it spread... When the fuel dripped, of course the fuel load was added to the dried leaves until the entire tank was punctured, so it was pretty strong.)

Zambrano has reminded the public to properly dispose of cigarette butts to avoid similar incidents.

“Nandun na yung oxygen eh. Although inverse siya, baga siya, kaya lang dahil sobrang init ng panahon na yun, then at the same time malakas din yung hangin dun kasi open space. Parang ano lang yan kung nagluluto ka, nagba-barbecue ka, uling pag sinobrahan mo hangin, talagang aapoy sya,” he explained.

(The oxygen is already there. Although it was an ember, the weather was so hot and the wind was strong because it was an open space. It's like when you're cooking, or barbecuing, the charcoal catches fire if you blow too much air.)

The parking area is being leased to the Manila International Airport Authority by the Philippine Skylanders International Inc., which earlier vowed to provide financial assistance to the affected car owners. (TPM/SunStar Philippines)


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