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Virtually, there’s a fire every day in Cebu City

By: Morexette Marie B. Erram - Multimedia Reporter - CDN Digital | March 28,2024 - 09:16 AM

Virtually, there’s a fire every day in Cebu City -- BFP-7

CEBU CITY, Philippines — Firefighters in Cebu have been constantly reminding the public to always observe fire safety measures.

And their calls could not come in a more timely manner as the city saw an increasing number of fires in the past years.

In this special feature for this year’s fire prevention month, CDN Digital has obtained in-depth data about the fires in Cebu City from the Bureau of Fire Protection in Central Visayas (BFP-7).

Not only did they show a rise in the total number of fires the city’s fire service teams had to respond. But it also presented 2023 as the year wherein the city had to respond to one nearly every day.

Eight people in Cebu City also perished due to fires last year.

Increasing number of fires

Since the Covid-19 restrictions have been lifted, there has been an increasing number of fires recorded in the Queen City of the South — a development that fire officials attributed to people returning to their pre-pandemic lives.

In 2020, firefighters only responded to a total of 179 fires, including minor ones like rubbish and grass fires.

But three years later, it sharply rose to 330, which meant that nearly every day, firefighters had to put out a fire in the city.

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2023 was also the costliest year in terms of fire damage in Cebu City, with nearly P4.1 billion in properties turned into ashes.

Around P4 billion alone came from the hours-long fire that hit an unfinished residential condominium tower in Brgy. Kasambagan in April 2023.

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Structure type

Out of the 330 fires recorded in 2023, 144 of these struck residential structures like single and two-family dwellings. It can be recalled that all fire-related deaths in the previous year happened in residential areas.

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Almost, if not all, of the residential fires that occurred in Cebu City happened in urban barangays, with 11 of them coming from Brgy. Guadalupe – the city’s largest barangay in terms of land area and population.

Hottest months

A large number of fires that happened in Cebu City in the previous year were reported during the hot, summer months – from March to May.

In April alone, at least 65 fires occurred that month, including the one that struck the condominium skyrise in Brgy. Kasambagan, and left nearly P4 billion in damages.

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With majority of the fires in 2023 involved residential buildings, understandably, the barangays with the most number of fire incidents came from villages with residential areas like Barangays Lahug, Guadalupe and Labangon.

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In earlier interviews, the BFP in Cebu City revealed that the most common cause of fires in 2023 was electrical misuse and faulty electrical wirings.

Staying safe from fires

Fires are life-threatening but preventable occurrences. One can avoid a large fire from happening by following these fire safety tips from the BFP.

1. Unplug unused chargers.
2. Do not overload outlets
3. Only use electrical appliances and other electrical accessories certified by regulators
4. Keep flammable materials away from reach of children
5. Always check the stove before leaving the house
6. Do not leave candles and lamps unattended
7. Know the exit points
8. Do not leave electrical appliances plugged in when leaving the house
9. Do not allow anyone from tapping electrical lines illegally
10. Always shut off the main breaker when leaving the house for a long period of time.

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TAGS: Cebu City, Cebu Daily News, Cebu fire, fires

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