#ThinkFireSafetyNow: Worst Fire Incidents in the Philippines
Marje Pelayo • March 6, 2019 • 11263
MANILA, Philippines – In observance of the Fire Prevention Month this March, the Bureau of Fire Protection (BFP) has launched interactive activities that aim to promote fire safety, fire prevention and first aid in case of fire with the hashtag campaign #ThinkFireSafetyNow.
Though the Philippines is known for disastrous typhoons, there are a number of fire incidents that left a mark in the country’s history due to the unexpected number of deaths and the extent of damages to properties.
Here is a list of some of the worst fire incidents in the Philippines:
NCCC Mall Fire (December 23, 2017) – Fire gutted the third floor of the NCCC Mall in Davao City. The fire, which went on for 32 hours, caused the lives of 38 individuals and charred about P1.6-B worth of property.
One year after the incident, the City Prosecutor’s Office dismissed the case of reckless imprudence filed by the Interagency Anti-Arson Task Force against the mall executives.
There is still no clear decision from the Office of the Ombudsman as to who among the concerned government officials will be held responsible in the incident.
Kentex Slipper Factory Fire (May 13, 2015) – Welding sparks ignited chemicals that caused the massive fire in this slipper and shoes factory. The chemicals were placed near the entrance of the warehouse and so the fire blocked the main exit of the building. The fire went on for five hours, leaving 74 factory workers dead, most of them trapped on the second floor.
Investigation revealed that the building had no Fire Safety Inspection Clearance, a requirement to secure a business permit. The owner also had no fire safety clearance to conduct ‘hot works’ such as welding.
Two years after the incident, Valenzuela City Mayor Rex Gatchalian was charged with graft and reckless imprudence resulting in multiple homicide and multiple physical injury. But Gatchalian insisted that the owner did not violate any provision of the Building Code. In December 2016, Sandiganbayan’s Second Division absolved Gatchalian. The case is still pending at the Supreme Court.
Philippine Army HQ Fire (May 7, 2014) – Three soldiers died and 10 others were injured in the fire that ignited from the Philippine Army Explosives and Ordnance Disposal (EOD) headquarters in Fort Bonifacio, Taguig City.
The Bureau of Fire Protection (BFP) said in its investigation that some of the military’s standard operating procedures (SOP) were violated in the incident as there was no safety officer at that time and combustible materials were placed near the officers.
Manor Hotel fire (August 18, 2001) – At least 75 people died in a fire that engulfed this accommodation in Kamuning, Quezon City, most of them were participants in a religious conference being held in the area. Investigation revealed that the establishment lacked fire safety features such as water sprinklers, fire alarms, emergency lights, and fire exits.
Asociacion De Damas De Filipinas fire (December 3, 1998) – A Catholic orphanage in Paco, Manila, the establishment was engulfed in a massive fire that killed 28 people, mostly children who were residents in the center.
Ozone Disco fire (March 16, 1996) – College students who were about to graduate met their demise when the disc jockey’s booth caught fire and set the pub into an inferno. A total of 162 people were killed and over 90 others were injured.
In November 2014, the Sandiganbayan sentenced nine of the accused, mostly stockholders and former local officials of Quezon City, from 6 to 10 years in prison.
It involved the person who provided the owners building and renovation permits as investigation revealed some structural and fire safety deficiencies in the building. The club had only one door and no alternative fire exit.
Even after 2014, the survivors and the Justice for Ozone Victims Foundation received only P4-M pesos from the business’ insurance.
“The biggest amount received by the families of those who were killed was P20,000 each,” lamented the group’s president Joseph Stephen Santos.
The place where the charred disco pub was erected is now the location of a fast food chain. – Marje Pelayo (with reports from Rey Pelayo)
MANILA, Philippines – The Senate has approved on third and final reading a bill seeking to strengthen the Bureau of Fire Protection (BFP) by providing modern firefighting tools and life-saving equipment, additional personnel, and relevant training of personnel.
Voting 23-0, the Senate passed on Monday Senate Bill No. (SBN) 1832 or the BFP Modernization Act, which aims to help the BFP pursue its mandate of promoting public safety by saving lives and protecting property in times of emergencies.
Sen. Ronald “Bato” Dela Rosa, who chairs of the Senate committee on public order and dangerous drugs and sponsor of the measure, said that the proposed measure will ensure that the BFP will be well-quipped and sufficiently manned to suppress fire incidents and respond to calamities.
“With the help of SBN 1832, we can ensure that we will have enough fire officers, fire trucks, personal protective equipment and other equipment needed to suppress deadly fires. Also, it will allow BFP to effectively perform their duty as first responders during accidents and other emergencies,” Dela Rosa said in a statement.
The bill expanded BFP’s functions to include prevention and suppression of fire in all buildings, houses, and other structures located inside economic zones, agro-industrial economic zones, free ports, and special economic zones, Information Technology (IT) parks/centers, tourism economic zones, and other similar entities.
Added to the agency’s functions is its duty to respond to natural and man-made disasters and assist in rescue and emergency medical services provided that the BFP would coordinate and cooperate with the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council and Local Government Units.
The modernization program shall consist of components, such as fire protection service, force restructuring and organizational development, capability, material, and technology development, specialized services development, and human resource development.
“Again, with the help of Congress, our dream to have firetrucks and fire stations in every municipality could be achieved; hopefully, we can see firefighters with protective equipment while suppressing deadly fires; no more stories of fatalities due to lack of ambulances during accidents and emergencies,” Dela Rosa said.
Dela Rosa assured the public that the higher chamber will appropriate proper funding for the modernization of the BFP.
“The passage of this bill is the first step towards the modernization of the BFP. Rest assured that we will see to it that this law will be implemented properly,” he said.
“We will also ensure that our annual national budget will include sufficient funds for the programmed projects of the BFP for their modernization program,” he added.
Patay ang mag-lola sa sunog sa Barangay Addition Hills sa Mandaluyong City madaling araw ng Huwebes, ika-18 ng Pebrero.
Nabulabog ang mga residente ng Block 39, Barangay Addition Hills nang sumiklab ang apoy sa isang bahay pasado alas-12 ng madaling araw.
Batay sa ulat ng Bureau of Fire Protection, dalawang bahay ang naapektuhan ng sunog na umabot sa first alarm. Agad ring naapula ang sunog matapos ang isang oras.
Ngunit kinumpirma ng BFP na dalawang indibiduwal ang nasawi matapos maipit sa loob ng nasunog na bahay. Kinilala ang mga biktima na sina Pacita Lamac, 55-taong gulang, at apo nitong si Althea Monique Salumbides, 13-taong gulang.
Ayon kay Barangay Captain Carlito Cernal, nasa third floor ang mag-lola nang sumiklab ang apoy sa katabing bahay nito na unang nasunog. Gawa sa light materials ang bahay ng pamilya Lamac kaya mabilis na kumalat ang apoy.
“Sadly, hindi nakalabas kasi ang sabi doon sa mga nakakakilala sa pamilya na ang ibang hagdanan masikip din, at iyon nga mabilis ang apoy kasi nga puro light materials ang kanilang tinitirhan,” aniya.
Wala nang iba pang napaulat na nasugatan sa insidente. Inaalam pa ng BFP ang sanhi ng sunog bagaman nakita umano ng ilang residente na may usok mula sa likuran ng isa sa mga apektadong bahay.
Kasalukuyan nang tinutulungan ng lokal na pamahalaan ang nasa 10 pamilyang naapektuhan ng sunog. (Ulat ni Asher Cadapan Jr.)
NAVOTAS, Philippines—Two people have died while over 20 others are still recovering after being exposed to an ammonia leak at an ice plant in Navotas City on Wednesday evening (February 3).
Navotas City Mayor Toby Tiangco, in a tweet, confirmed the identity of the second casualty. The body of Joselito Jazareno, 54, was found on Thursday (February 4). Jazareno worked as an electrician at T.P. Marcelo Ice Plant.
Ngayong umaga, nakumpirma po nating may isa pang namatay sa ammonia leak sa TP Marcelo Ice Plant and Cold Storage. Siya po ay si Joselito Jazareno, 54, residente ng Malabon at electrician ng kompanya. Sa inisyal na imbestigasyon, nakita po siya malapit sa sumabog na surge tank.
The first reported casualty, Gilbert Tiangco, passed away on Wednesday.
Out of 99 individuals that were rushed to the hospital, only 26 are still recovering at the Philippine General Hospital.
Tiangco also said the company vowed to provide assistance to the victims of the incident.
Meanwhile, the Bureau of Fire Protection (BFP) is looking into the possible cause of the leak. One possible cause, according to BFP-NCR Director FCSupt. Gilbert Dolot, is high pressure from welding activities which triggered the explosion of an ammonia-filled nurse tank at the ice plant.
However, Dolot said the BFP cannot fully conduct an investigation yet since its personnel cannot enter the premises due to high toxicity.
“Our team cannot do the investigation right away now sa ating site dahil malakas pa iyong level ng toxicity ng ammonia,” he said.
He assured that the BFP will immediately begin investigation once the area is safe. AAC
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