After fire butane crackdown

By: Apple Ta-as, Jhunnex Napallacan November 19,2015 - 03:36 AM

A FIRE  investigation is underway to determine if Tuesday’s blaze that left more than 500 homeless in barangay Alaska Mambaling, Cebu City was caused by an unattended cooking fire using a refilled butane canister or electrical misuse.

The  owner of the house where the blaze started is being sought out by the fire department after  barangay captain Wilfredo Go said neighbors were talking about an exploision of a stove using a refilled canister of LPG.

The Department of Energy (DOE) in Central Visayas yesterday asked the police for help in enforcing the ban on illegal use of disposable butane cans to store Liquified Petroleum Gas (LPG).

“DOE only has one office for Central Visayas and three to four inspectors. We cannot do it all. We need assistance from other government agencies,” said Antonio Labios, DOE regional director, who visited the office of Chief. Supt. Prudencio Bañas.

“We are now following it up with Cebu City Hall to regulate the illegal refilling of butane canisters.”

Bañas told reporters DOE will set guidelines for the confiscation of butane canisters from unauthorized operators.

The police can support them in raids. Fire investigators can do the inspection, he said.

“The DOE is the regulatory body. They want to check this, and see what best actions can be taken with the City Hall, with the DTI and PNP to address this problem,” he said.

A task force was already formed by Cebu City Hall after the Nov. 3  explosion of a home-based LPG refiller of butane canisters injured eight workers in barangay Kinasang-an, Pardo.

Chief Insp. Rogelio Bongabong, head of the Cebu City Fire Station said the cause of the fire  still needs to be determined.

Owners of two houses of Fely Sucatre and Lynda Campaner need to be interviewed.

He said an investigator went to the site yesterday but most residents were still busy attending to the fire damage and had no time to come to the office to execute statement.

“There were just claims that the cause was electrical misuse but others said that the fire was due to a unattended cooking with the use of butane canisters,”he said.

“We cannot conclude right then and there.  We have no affidavit of the witnesses yet,” said Bongabong. THE Cebu City Council declared a state of calamity in barangay Mambaling so that emergency funds can be released for at least 122 families displaced by the fire now staying in the Alaska Elementary School.

Three days worth of emergency meals will be provided, along with  P10,000 cash aid and housing materials for each family, while they wait for the reblocking of their area.

Councilor Dave Tumulak said it would take a week to verify a masterlist of beneficiaries initially placed at 501 persons.

With 10 classrooms used for evacuees, the school had to reschedule its classes. Tumulak asked the school’s parents to be patient with the temporary situation until reblocking  of the burned area is finished.

Heavy equipment was sent to clear the site.

The barangay council of Mambaling passed a resolution last Tuesday evening declaring the two sitios of Abya and Puntod in a state of calamity.

The barangay captain said he supported the re-blocking of the area to widen roads for vehicles to pass during future emergencies.

Meanwhile, Councilor Eugenio Gabuya proposed the creation of an ambulance service team to respond to emergencies like fire outbreaks.

The team will have a registered nurse, a paramedic and a professional driver.The City Health Office will hire and operate the teams in each barangay.

Dr. Daisy Villa, who heads the City Health Office, said the team will and should be trained in basic life support.

The budget will be sourced from the Local Disaster Risk Reduction Management Fund of the barangays.

Councilor said the teams will help reduce the load on the Emergency Rescue Unit Foundation (ERUF).

Related stories: 50 HOUSES BURN IN MAMBALING

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No guidelines, no charges against butane outlet owner

DOE, City Hall to push info drive on butane cans

Eight injured in butane explosion inside home

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TAGS: butane canister, Cebu, Cebu City, Central Visayas, Department of Energy, fire, liquified petroleum gas

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