13 hurt in separate fires in LP and Pque shanties

  By Perseus Echeminada and Aie Balagtas See

(The Philippine Star) Updated February 22, 2011 12:00 AM


MANILA, Philippines – A total of 13 persons were injured when fires broke out at shantytowns in Las Piñas and Parañaque cities starting Sunday night.

Fire Inspector Nilo Lomitao, chief arson investigator of the Las Piñas fire department, told The STAR that the blaze razed 30 houses in Fatima Subdivision at Barangay Talon 2, leaving 45 families homeless.

He said Mario Escobar, Obando Sanagan, Eduardo Tingson and Art Tula Quartero suffered third-degree burns as they tried to save their belongings at the height of the two-hour fire.

He said investigators are still trying to determine the cause of the fire. In Parañaque City, nine people were hurt when a fire that lasted less than 30 minutes engulfed a slum area at Matatdo Subdivision and left 200 families homeless.

Investigators believe the fire may have started at the house of Alexander Constantino, who left his stove unattended as he was cooking rice.

Senior Fire Officer 4 Dean Jogno said firefighters had a hard time penetrating the area because “it has not access to major roads” and they had to use ladders to gain access.

Here are some fire prevention tips from ehow.com for everyone to consider:

Take Extra Precautions With Flammable Materials

  • Matches, flammable liquids, lighters, and other combustibles must be properly stored or disposed of, as these materials can ignite fire, especially when there is the presence of heat, fuel, and oxygen around them. Keep these materials away from the reach of children and even pets. When there is power outage, make sure you don’t leave candles or even lighted mosquito coils unattended. Don’t put them beside cloth and paper or near curtains and fans. During the Philippine summer months, ignition might result from gas and other flammable liquids upon reaching their ignition point due to the high temperature. Don’t throw lit cigarette butts on dried leaves, garbage, and pieces of tissue as these may cause sudden combustion and the fire can easily spread through these materials.
  • Regularly Check and Properly Maintain Electrical Components

  • Faulty wiring systems are one of the major causes of fire in homes in the Philippines, offices, and business establishments. Electrical connection problems may be caused by electrical overloading, worn-out wiring that can lead to short circuits (critical ignition point of electrical systems), and improper maintenance of broken electric cords. Aside from visible electrical problems seen from outlets and cords, there are fire risks from electrical components that are often hidden from view. It is important to conduct proper maintenance of electrical installations regularly.

    Unplug appliances after every use. If there is frayed wiring or electrical fixtures that need to be changed or repaired, call a licensed electrician to do this. Some homeowners try to save money by choosing unlicensed electrical engineers and technicians for their services. This is not an ideal means of saving as it increases the risk of fire through long-term electrical system problems.

  • Make Pre-fire Plans and Participate in Fire Drills

  • Education on fire safety and prevention is the primary key to avoid fire hazards and mishaps. Following fire prevention tips is equally as important as making pre-fire plans and being aware of life-saving tips in case of fire. As contact numbers of fire departments in the Philippines differ from every town or city, put phone numbers of the local fire department near the phone or store them in the cellphones of family members. Offices and business establishments must provide the phone numbers to their employees, as well. Buy a fire extinguisher and put it in an easily accessible place. Larger spaces and buildings would need more than one fire extinguisher. Make sure people in the household, the office, or the establishment know how to use the extinguisher. Make escape routes and participate in fire drills usually conducted by the local government and private groups.
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