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Eight injured in butane explosion inside home

By: Apple Ta-as, Jose Santino S. Bunachita November 04,2015 - 01:55 AM

Butane canisters were loaded up in a truck after a fire broke out at the house of businesswoman Amor Pelenia injuring eight people. (CDN PHOTO/TONEE DESPOJO)

Butane canisters were loaded up in a truck after a fire broke out at the house of businesswoman Amor Pelenia injuring eight people. (CDN PHOTO/TONEE DESPOJO)


Eight persons were injured in an explosion at a two-story house in Greyhound Subdivision, barangay Kinasang-an Pardo, Cebu City at past 2 p.m. yesterday.

The victims were workers of a refilling station for canisters of butane, a popular source of cheap cooking fuel whose misuse is already prohibited because it poses  a serious  fire hazard.

The workers were   washing and repainting the canisters when one of it leaked, causing it to explode after being exposed to fire, said Senior Fire Officer Angelo Abellana.

They worked for Amor Pelenia, who operated her business at home.

Pelenia assured she would take care of the medical bills of the injured  employees who were rushed to  Chong Hua Hospital.


Pelenia said she was sleeping when she heard something blow up.

“I thought the door was slammed,” she said.  She  was shocked to see flames but said this was immediately put out by  workers with an extinguisher.

Pelenia said one of the workers may have smoked a cigarette despite her constant warning  not to do it when they were “washing and repainting” the canisters inside the house.

The canisters are later resold.

“ What we do is remove the gas  remaining inside and stab the canister so it is not to be  used again,” she said.

She said they don’t  refill the butane canisters in the house but in the mountain barangays of Danao City and Barili town.

The victims were identified as Fedilino Almanoche, Jimboy Aranes, Rick Orcullo, Dexter Gora, Elpedia Bandoco, Romnick Pia and two unnamed workers.


Barangay chairman Jeffrey Navarro said it wasn’t the first time  an explosion happened in Pelenia’s house.

“An explosion was also reported at her house early this year because of butane stored inside. No one was reported hurt during that incident,”  Navarro said.

Navarro said Pelenia   already promised to remove the cases of butane canisters stored in the ground floor of her house within three days.

“The storage should be far from people, or any residential areas. She did not apply for a business permit so she doesn’t know what the requirements are in selling butane,” Navarro said.

“If they were only washing the canisters, then why  was there a  leak that caused the explosion?” he added.


When Cebu Daily News checked the house. The whole area  before the entrance door was filled with cases of butane canisters.

A big tarpaulin was  posted outside announcing that butane refills are sold for P10.50.

Before reporters left, Pelenia ordered her people to load the cases inside a delivery van.

She failed to show any business permit. Pelenia said she recently ordered 10,000 butane canisters.

“We have a group that already planned to register the business with the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI). We are still checking for ways to use stainless steel for the canisters but the cost would be P200 each,” she  said.

Faulty wiring

Cebu City Councilor Nestor Archival said he is studying how to regulate the refilling of butane canisters in the city and will check with the Bureau of Fire Protection.

“I’m looking into that right now. It may have happened in the refilling station but maybe there was another problem, which may be the most common cause of fire, which is faulty wiring,” he said.

Archival, who heads the City Council’s committee on energy, said resolutions had been passed before to regulate the activity but no ordinance with penalties yet.

“The best way is to make a supplemental ordinance that would support or supplement the original law,” he said.


An order issued by the Department of Energy (DOE) last year already prohibits the improper refilling of liquified petroleum gasoline and butane.

In a press conference ast year, DOE-7 Regional Director  Antonio Labios said they need the help of local government officials in enforcing this ban  on LPG and butane refilling.

The order is covered by a DOE circular issued last January 7, 2014 by Energy Secretary Jericho Petilla.

A brand-new 250-gram butane gas canister costs P75 while an 11-kilo LPG cylinder costs P900.

Sari-sari stores sell illegally refilled canisters with LPG for as low as P28.

Archival said he understands why consumers  prefer the refilled canisters  which are convenient and cheap.

“A lot of people also depend  on butane. Probably 20,000 people a day, I’m  not sure about the numbers. It’s more economical,” he said.

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TAGS: Butane, butane canister, Cebu, Cebu City, fire, pardo

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