20 homes gutted down in Davao fire

DAVAO CITY (MindaNews / 10 March) – A fire gutted down at least 20 houses at St. John Village in Bucana in this city Thursday afternoon, just a couple of days after a major fire hit the same barangay that affected 70 households.

This was the second fire incident taking place during the Fire Prevention Month celebration.

Fire Insp. Nestor Jimenez, chief of operations division of the Bureau of Fire Protection (BFP) 11, told MindaNews in a phone interview that they have yet to determine how many families are affected and, if any, the number of casualties as the investigation is still ongoing as of press time.

He said the fire started at 1:46 p.m. and placed under control by 2:15 p.m. The cause of fire has yet to be determined, Jimenez said.

The location of the second fire incident is estimated to be 100 meters away from last Tuesday afternoon’s fire that hit Purok 13-B, Kasilak Riverside, Barangay 76-A Bucana, which left two people dead and one injured.

Fire incidents in the Davao Region from January to February this year increased by more than half with 207 cases as compared to 129 of the same period last year, according to BFP 11.

Based on the bureau’s record, the total cost of damages were placed at P20.9 million, slightly lower than last year’s P22.5 million.

Jimenez said the number of grassfires spiked the highest with 85 cases, which grew by more than four folds from last year’s 20 incidents.

“The fire incidents here are very alarming because of El Niño. If we are smoking, let’s make sure that we put out the cigarette first before we throw it because the grasses are so dry because of El Niño,” he warned.

The El Niño, or the long dry spell, is predicted to last until June this year.

The month of March was declared in 1966 as Fire Prevention Month by President Ferdinand Marcos after he signed Proclamation 115-A, which devoted each month of the year to a particular aspect of safety and accident prevention.

Jimenez said the bureau has lined up activities in celebration of the Fire Prevention Month dubbed as “Kaalaman at Pagtutulungan ng Sambayanan, Kaligtasan sa Sunog ay Makakamtan.”

Some of these activities include a five-day Fire Exit Drill and Earthquake Drill week to be observed in the region’s public and private schools, and government and private establishments on March 2 to 6; house-to-house fire safety inspection on March 7 to 31 “on single and two family dwellings”; March 14 to 16, a three-day open house of all fire stations for invited school children in area of responsibilities; and fire safety awareness campaign through conduct of fire drills and lectures.

BFP 11 recorded a total of 976 fire incidents from January to November 2015, with damage estimated at P258.304 million while 694 cases were recorded for the same period in 2014.+