DAVAO CITY (MindaNews / 09 June) — The Bureau of Fire Protection (BFP) here will soon have an aerial ladder, a supertanker firetruck and self-contained breathing apparatus sets and refilling system, Fire Supt. Jerry Candido, Director for Logistics of BFP Central Office said.
Candido, also Deputy Team Leader and spokesperson of the Inter-Agency Anti-Arson Task Force (IAATF), told MindaNews that these equipment will be the city’s share from the one billion peso allocation the Office of the President is giving the BFP central office.
This is part of the modernization program of the agency, following the tragic December 23, 2017 NCCC Mall Davao fire that killed 38 workers, Local Government officer-in-charge Usec. Eduardo Año said.
In a press conference at the SMX Convention Center Davao Friday, Año said the acquisition of the modern equipment will improve suppression capabilities of the bureau’s personnel in the country.
The BFP’s current 1,000-gallon trucks will no longer have to leave the site when responding to fire as the 2,500-gallon tanker trucks can resupply the smaller vehicles, Año said.
The P1 billion budget is part of the P2 billion for equipment that President Rodrigo Duterte approved.
Año said the self-contained breathing apparatus would be important so that firefighters can go inside huge buildings to deal with the fire.
“Yung self-contained breathing apparatus, ito very important pag may usok hindi mo mapapasok. Mamatay ka siguro. In two minutes, you will be unconscious (this is very important because when there is smoke you cannot go inside. You will die),” he said.
Fire Safety Insp. Jan Garry D. Lunas, chief of the Fire Science and Standard Development Division and Directorate for Plans and Standards at the Bureau of Fire , said 11 fire trucks coming from different BFP fire stations and 26 from other agencies and fire volunteers were deployed to put out the fire that lasted for more than 31 hours
He said the IAATF determined the fire originated from the ceiling of the furniture section on the third floor of the four-story NCCC Mall Davao.
The SSI occupied the entire 4,000-square meter space on the fourth floor that was also accredited by Philippine Economic Zone Authority.
The task force found that there was malpractice in the installation of electrical wirings during the renovation at the third floor; absence of appropriate license of some workers performing electrical works; and absence of building permit during renovation.
Also, it found out that the sprinkler systems at the 4th floor occupied by SSI was not functional, there was insufficient means of egress for the 4th floor, some exit doors have no self-closing device, some stairs were not fully enclosed, ground floor stair landing of one exit was utilized as storage. It also found there was failure to notify the nearest fire station when the fire alarm system and sprinkler systems were out of service for more than four hours, dry standpipes were not installed at exits, proper raceways were not provided on the electrical wirings installed at the renovated portion of the 3rd portal, and designated fire safety inspectors failed to indicate the correct fire safety status or violations of the buildings.
At least 37 SSI call center agents and one mall worker died in the fire incident.
The four-month demolition of the four-story NCCC Mall Davao started on May 19. (Antonio L. Colina iV / MindaNews)