Trash fire in Inayawan

By: Jose Santino S. Bunachita April 25,2015 - 12:55 AM

Thick black smoke covered part of the Inayawan Sanitary Landfill early  morning yesterday when   a fire broke out on garbage piles left bone dry by the summer heat.

Firefighters had to connect  hoses to reach the affected site, about  3,000 to 4,000 square meters in the middle of the landfill.

Fire outbreaks caused by spontaneous combustion of methane gas and extra-dry conditions are not unusual in the landfill. But it also could have been triggered by a discarded cigarette butt.

“We want to know why the fire was in the center. What caused it? It may be due to the  very hot weather. Broken glass was found there and may have magnified rays of the sun but the fire  happened at dawn,”  said  Councilor Dave Tumulak.

The  fire  was reported at 4 a.m. and  placed under control after five hours.

“It took long to put out because the firefighters were conscious of not bombing too much water on the fire since it may affect the pile of trash,”  said Tumulak.

Tumulak said he will ask the City Council on Monday to declare a state of calamity in the landfill.

He said the methane gas level  should also be assessed by the Department of Science and Technology and  Department of Environment and Natural Resources.

The smoke reached  homes in neighboring barangays of   Cogon Pardo and Poblacion Pardo, he said.
Worried about the fire rekindling,  a flood pressure pump was placed at the back of the landfill near the sea.

The landfill was closed  in mid-January and  70 families living there were persuaded by City Hall to move out last week to avoid the risk of a   trash slide after some  boulders  were removed at the base of the mountains of trash.

After Cebu City  Mayor Michael Rama visited the site  yesterday morning, he held an  emergency meeting with  department heads.

He tasked a  group led by OIC city engineer Jose Marie Poblete and Engr. Ricky Dakay to start  “interventions” to  prevent the recurrence of  fires.

“There is a state of calamity for the whole landfill. We don’t know what’s brewing inside,” Rama said.

He was relieved though that no one lived closed to the fire site.

He said he made the right decision after all in asking  families there to vacate the landfill.

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