How does BFP investigate fire incidents?

Maris Federez   •   March 21, 2019   •   5298

The Bureau of Fire Protection only has one Arson Laboratory in the whole Philippines.

Any evidence in a fire from any part of the country that needs to be investigated upon would still have to be sent to the Arson Investigation Unit in the BFP main office.

The Arson Electrical Division, being manned by electrical engineers, look into the various cables, appliance motors such that of electric fans, and machines used on generators that are submitted as evidence.

They will determine how these items got burned and if they had been the cause of the fire.

Probing these pieces of evidence in a fire is not an easy job as almost all pieces submitted to the Electrical Division are already beyond redemption.

The BFP admitted that although they have magnification devices, they still need an electron microscope.

On the other hand, accelerants or chemicals that could easily cause fire are being handled by the Arson Chemical Laboratory.

The BFP personnel assigned in this unit have science background.

They use state-of-the-art gas chromatography machine that costs 10 million pesos.

The gas chromatography machine can check even the ashes that remained in the fire.

Insp. Ferlyn Cabral, the Chief of the Forensic Chemistry Unit of the BFP said, “kapag sinalang po dito sigurado po kaming makakakuha pa kami kasi parts per million yung sensitivity po. Bale dito po kasi i-subject natin sa heat through sa head space tapos hihimay-himayin po siya up to the molecular level, tapos inject po sa GC para maidentify po natin kung ano ang meron dun na flammable substance.

[we are sure that we can find something as (the machine’s) sensibility measurement is at ‘parts per million’. We subject (the item) to heat through a headspace and we break it in tiny pieces up to molecular level, then we inject them to the GC so we can identify what’s in the flammable substance].”

The BFP is undergoing modernization not just on firetrucks but also on new technological equipment of arson investigators.

BFP Spokesperson F/C Insp. Jude Delos Reyes said the modernization is for them to become a competent fire protection agency that don’t just base their analyses on hearsay but on science. – Maris Federez (with details from Mon Jocson)

DILG wants firearms for firefighters issued this year

Robie de Guzman   •   February 13, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – The Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) is looking to arm 29,286 firefighters of the Bureau of Fire Protection (BFP) this year in line with the government’s drive against illegal drugs, criminality, terrorism and violent extremism.

“Maintaining law and order is not an easy task. Despite the decreasing crime rate in the country, having the BFP’s firefighters in our peace and order campaign is a boost and welcome addition in ensuring a safe and secure country,” DILG Secretary Eduardo Año said in a statement issued Wednesday.

The DILG chief said firemen will be armed with 9MM pistols to strengthen the government’s law enforcement campaign, and also for self-defense purposes as fire victims, out of frustration, sometimes gang up on fire personnel during firefighting operations.

“May mga pagkakataon na sa kagustuhan ng mga tao na unahing isalba ang kanilang nasusunog na bahay, kinukuyog nila ang mga bombero at nagkakagulo. Nais din naman nating protektahan at sundin ng mga tao ang ating mga bombero habang ginagawa nila ang kanilang trabaho,” he added.

Año believes the move is “timely and critical,” and in line with President Rodrigo Duterte’s directive of engaging BFP’s help to maintain law and order and not to limit their roles to firefighting.

He also said that the BFP, along with the Philippine National Police and the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology, is permitted by law to assist government troops in times of national emergency if ordered by the president under the Republic Act 6975.

“The BFP also does law enforcement functions because they enforce the Fire Code so they already have some experience in this regard. The BFP can help ensure public safety, as a support to the PNP and AFP but of course, their primary responsibility is still preventing and suppressing fire and enforcement of the Fire Code,” he said.

Año revealed that the BFP has already requested funds from the Department of Budget and Management for the procurement of the firearms.

He also assured that firemen would undergo marksmanship and gun safety training before they will be issued their firearms.

“Hindi rin naman natin basta-basta aarmasan sila ng walang tamang training,” he said.

For his part, newly-appointed BFP Director Jose Segundo Embang said he welcomes the move to arm BFP personnel, adding that this is a necessary upgrade in terms of responsibilities and skills “to cope with the demands of the times.”

“Hindi na ito yong conditional firefighters na nakikita natin before. Ito na iyong mga modern heroes, kung makikita ninyo sa mga disasters. Hindi lang sa mga natural disasters but even during man-made disasters, kasi sila talaga ang first responders, sila ang cornerstone of emergency preparedness and response,” Embang said.

“Ngayon ay makakasama na kami sa pagpapanatili ng public safety,” he added.

BFP records zero firecracker-related fires in 2020 revelry

Maris Federez   •   January 2, 2020

MANILA, Philippines — The Bureau of Fire Protection (BFP) has recorded a zero firecracker-related fire in the country during the New Year revelry.

This is contrary to the period December 31, 2018 to January 1, 2019, wherein the BFP recorded four firecracker-related blazes.

Based on BFP data, from Dec. 31, 2019 to around six in the morning of January 1, 2020, a total of 13 fire incidents were logged down although these were not due to the use of firecrackers.

BFP Spokesperson F/SSupt. Geranndie Agonos, the low fire-incidence is due to the public adherence to the advisories and warnings on the use of firecrackers and pyrotechnics.

“Kyung mayroon man pong firecracker-related sa kabuuan ng taon, makikita po na lalo po itong bumababa. Naitala po sa taong 2018, mayroon pong 22 sunog na bunga ng firecracker. Pero ngayon pong taong 2019 ay 13 na lamang po. So, higit pong bumaba ang bilang ng sunog bunga ng firecracker,” Agonos said. — (with details from Asher Cadapan, Jr.) /mbmf

Fire reduces around 100 houses in Quezon City to ashes

Maris Federez   •   January 1, 2020

QUEZON CITY, Philippines — Around 100 houses were reduced to ashes as fire razed Barangay Vasra in Quezon City an hour before the turning of the new year.

The Bureau of Fire Protection (BFP) said the fire immediately reached task force alpha on Palanas street at around 11 in the evening on Tuesday (Dec. 31) which left residents scurrying to leave the place with whatever household items they can bring.

Most of the households in the area were busy preparing for the new year festivities when the fire broke out.

The BFP firefighters declared fire out at past 1 in the morning.

Investigation on the cause of the fire is now in place said the BFP. — (with details from Nel Maribojoc) /mbmf

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