BY RUBY P. SILUBRICO and IME SORNITO
ILOILO City – A late night fire on Sunday gutted 27 houses in Barangay Tanza Timawa, City Proper a day after fire razed 36 houses in Barangay Calaparan, Arevalo district on Saturday.
Of the 27 houses, 18 were totally burned, according to Senior Fire Officer 3 Aquilino Sampiano of the Bureau of Fire Protection (BFP).
Does BFP have enough water to combat fire in this city this dry season?
BFP in Iloilo City recorded 129 fire incidents from January to March 26 this year. These were 76.71 percent higher than the 73 cases within the same period last year, said Senior Fire Officer 1 Rollin Hormina, BFP Iloilo City fire and arson investigator.
In March this year alone (as of the 26th), the bureau recorded 63 cases.
There is enough water for firefighting, according to Superintendent Crosbee Gumowang, assistant director for operations of BFP Region 6.
A short electrical circuit caused the Barangay Tanza Timawa blaze, initial investigation showed.
It started at the house of Rodel Casilao in Zone 1 and quickly spread to neighboring houses mostly made of light materials, said Sampiano.
The BFP received a fire call around 11:58 p.m.
“We often remind households, especially those in thickly-populated areas, to check their electrical connections. Electricity-related fires are most common in these areas,” said Sampiano.
In this city, the Metro Iloilo Water District (MIWD) has not issued a notice on water shortage, said Gumowang.
The BFP is among the first to be informed by MIWD if there are problems with the latter’s water supply or distribution, according to Gumowang.
In February, Dr. Jessica Salas, MIWD chairperson, said their water treatment plant upgrade was expected to boost water delivery capacity.
The upgrade was from Feb. 26 to March 31. It was a step towards ensuring that every Ilonggo would have access to clean water, said Salas.
In March, BFP recorded over 60 successive incidences of fire in Iloilo City.
Gumowang said the fire volunteer brigade Iloilo Citizens Action Group (ICAG) also assured BFP of help.
ICAG maintains a big water reservoir, said Gumowang.
“Ino-offer nila sa atin in case may conflagration,” he said.
BFP’s fire trucks, Gumowang revealed also have the capability to siphon water from deep wells and rivers.
The types of fire that so far hit the region were classified into the following: structural, grassfire, forest fire, post fire, and vehicular fire./PN