Christmas tree in mall catches fire; BFP reminds public avoid outdoor decorations

By: Delta Dyrecka Letigio December 26,2019 - 09:52 PM

The Christmas tree at a mall in Barangay Apas in Cebu City catches fire on Thursday afternoon, December 26, 2019. The fire was immediately put out by the staff of the mall. | Screengrabbed from the video of Kieth Lawrence Ermac

CEBU CITY, Philippines — A Christmas tree inside a mall in Barangay Apas, Cebu City caught fire  at past 5 p.m. of December 26, 2019, but it was immediately put out in 10 minutes by the emergency quick response team (QRT) of  the mall management.

No one was hurt in the incident, but it was caught on video by some netizens including Jerazel Villamor, who posted the video minutes after the Christmas tree caught fire.

In the video, the fire began at the upper tip of the Christmas tree and quickly spread. A security guard bringing a fire extinguisher began putting out the fire.

Senior Fire Officer 3 Oliver Tautho, investigator of the Bureau of Fire Protection (BFP) in Cebu City, said the fire started at the exterior portion of the “exposed” Christmas tree.

The fire was most likely caused by faulty wiring after the Christmas tree was exposed in the rain brought about by the recent Typhoon Ursula, since the tree was placed in an open space.

“Ang decorations kay highly flammable, mao to dali ra gyod niulbo ang kayo. Wala man kaayoy sunog sa center sa tree, naa ra gyod sa kilid,” said Tautho in a phone interview.

(The decorations were highly flammable, that is why the fire spread easily. The fire did not reach the center of the tree, it was concentrated on the side.)

Tautho praised the quick response of the mall management, as they were prepared with the necessary equipment to put out the fire including having nearby fire extinguishers and trained staff to combat the fire.

However, he reminded establishments to avoid outdoor decorations if they could because exposed lights would always be at risk of catching fire.

If they use outdoor decorations, they must use weather-proof series lights or lights wrapped in insulation materials to avoid overheating or getting the wires wet.

Tautho also reminded household owners to unplug all electronic decorations before they sleep or leave the house to avoid overheating and the possibility of fire.

The fire officer also reminded the public to only use approved Christmas lights by the Department of Trade and Industries (DTI)./dbs

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TAGS: Christmas tree, mall in Apas, Quick Response Team

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