Safety over profit
The explosion caused by butane canisters carried by a truck that crashed into a car display center in Talisay City last Aug. 9 as well as last Monday’s fire in Sitio Arca, Barangay Pusok in Lapu-Lapu City that displaced 857 persons and destroyed 130 houses served as yet another dire reminder about the dangers of transporting butane canisters refilled with liquified petroleum gas (LPG).
Though there were reports that a representative of the owner of the truck and canisters claimed that there were no refilled containers that were destroyed in the fire, there was no evidence to back up that claim.
In last Monday’s fire, an unattended candle caused the fire, but the destruction was multiplied a hundredfold due to butane canisters that were refilled with LPG used by the households.
Suffice it to say that in both incidents, the possibility of fatalities was very high. And in these days, one cannot rely on dumb luck to save oneself from disaster.
Councilor Dave Tumulak vowed to refile an ordinance banning butane refilling stations and to regulate the transport of butane canisters within Cebu City.
We don’t know if Cebu City Mayor Tomas Osmeña will approve the ordinance since last time we checked, he was quite supportive of butane-refilling stations on the assumption that these were strictly regulated.
But that’s the problem. The Bureau of Fire Protection (BFP) said 44 fires caused by refilled butane canister explosions occurred in Cebu City from 2010 to 2015 which may not be cause for alarm for Osmeña and other city officials and may also explain why the proposed ordinance wasn’t passed in the last City Council.
Then again, the Department of Energy’s order to prohibit the refilling of butane canisters with LPG stems from the very obvious reason that a canister is not built to house LPG nor butane once it had been used.
Since refilled butane canisters cost cheaper than LPG, there will be a market out there that will patronize the continued operation of butane-refilling stations. So maybe the public is waiting for evidence to prove that using refilled butane canisters is dangerous to one’s safety.
If the August 9 explosion and last Monday’s fire were not enough to convince them to avoid refilled butane canisters, then they are taking quite the unnecessary and dangerous risk with their continued patronage of these products.
We hope Cebu’s local government units pass and enforce an ordinance that bans the refilling and sale of these butane canisters if they truly are concerned for the safety and welfare of their constituents. These public officials should realize that public safety should take precedence over profit.
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