2010 fire incidence dips in Southwestern Mindanao but damage higher

KORONADAL CITY (MindaNews/20 Apr) – Fewer fire incidents were recorded in Southwestern Mindanao last year compared to 2009, but the value of properties destroyed in 2010 was higher than the previous year, the regional National Statistical Coordination Board said.

Herlita G. Caraan, NSCB regional chief, said data from the Bureau of Fire Protection – Region 12 showed that 294 fire incidents hit the area last year.

The previous year, fires razed 317 properties across the region straddling the provinces of South Cotabato, North Cotabato, Sultan Kudarat and Sarangani. Southwestern Mindanao also includes the cities of General Santos, Koronadal, Tacurong. Kidapawan and Cotabato.

Ironically, March, the so-called “fire prevention month,” recorded the highest fire incidents last year, engulfing 48 establishments and properties worth nearly P33 million.

“The 2010 fires gutted properties worth more than P106.6 million which was 76.5 percent higher than the P60.4 million total damages reported in 2009,” Caraan said.

The NSCB report did not indicate the causes of the fire incidents although some of the earlier reasons commonly blamed by investigators were faulty electrical wiring, overheating appliances, unattended candles, and leaking liquefied petroleum gas, among others.

On Tuesday, a huge fire in Makati City, the country’s financial district, left an estimated 10,000 individuals displaced. Fire investigators were looking at a computer that overheated and an unattended rice cooker as possible causes of the blaze.

In Southwestern Mindanao, General Santos City had the highest fire incidence in 2010 with 70 fires, followed by South Cotabato with 65, the regional Statistical Board office reported. In 2009, 142 fires struck General Santos and razed properties worth about P10.7 million.

Kidapawan City and Cotabato City reported the least with only 15 and 17 fire incidents, respectively, it added.

Despite having the least number of fire incidents last year, Kidapawan posted the highest amount of damage to properties lost to fires.

The 15 fire incidents in Kidapawan gutted properties close to P23 million, including the two-story KMCC Mall which caught fire in March 2010.

Cotabato City, on the other hand, recorded the least damage with only P1.7-million worth of properties lost to 17 fires.

March recorded the highest incidence with a total of 48 fires setting ablaze about P32.9 million worth of properties.

Thirty-six fires struck in September and destroyed properties worth more than P12.6 million. June saw the least number of fire incidents with only 11 fires with a total damage of P2.8 million. (Bong S. Sarmiento / MindaNews)