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How does BFP investigate fire incidents?

by Maris Federez   |   Posted on Thursday, March 21st, 2019

The Bureau of Fire Protection only has one Arson Laboratory in the whole Philippines.

Any evidence in a fire from any part of the country that needs to be investigated upon would still have to be sent to the Arson Investigation Unit in the BFP main office.

The Arson Electrical Division, being manned by electrical engineers, look into the various cables, appliance motors such that of electric fans, and machines used on generators that are submitted as evidence.

They will determine how these items got burned and if they had been the cause of the fire.

Probing these pieces of evidence in a fire is not an easy job as almost all pieces submitted to the Electrical Division are already beyond redemption.

The BFP admitted that although they have magnification devices, they still need an electron microscope.

On the other hand, accelerants or chemicals that could easily cause fire are being handled by the Arson Chemical Laboratory.

The BFP personnel assigned in this unit have science background.

They use state-of-the-art gas chromatography machine that costs 10 million pesos.

The gas chromatography machine can check even the ashes that remained in the fire.

Insp. Ferlyn Cabral, the Chief of the Forensic Chemistry Unit of the BFP said, “kapag sinalang po dito sigurado po kaming makakakuha pa kami kasi parts per million yung sensitivity po. Bale dito po kasi i-subject natin sa heat through sa head space tapos hihimay-himayin po siya up to the molecular level, tapos inject po sa GC para maidentify po natin kung ano ang meron dun na flammable substance.

[we are sure that we can find something as (the machine’s) sensibility measurement is at ‘parts per million’. We subject (the item) to heat through a headspace and we break it in tiny pieces up to molecular level, then we inject them to the GC so we can identify what’s in the flammable substance].”

The BFP is undergoing modernization not just on firetrucks but also on new technological equipment of arson investigators.

BFP Spokesperson F/C Insp. Jude Delos Reyes said the modernization is for them to become a competent fire protection agency that don’t just base their analyses on hearsay but on science. – Maris Federez (with details from Mon Jocson)

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Father, daughter die in La Union fire

by Aileen Cerrudo   |   Posted on Wednesday, May 29th, 2019

Personnel from the Bureau of Fire recover the remains of the fire victims

A 6-year-old girl was trapped inside their home after a fire broke out in Barangay Sta. Rita East in Aringay town, La Union on Monday (May 27).

Her father Jeffrey Estoril, 36, rushed inside their home to save her upon realizing his daughter could be trapped .

According to Barangay Sta. Rita East chairman Hilario Domenden, Jeffery was not able to endure the heat.

“Iyong mama niya gusto pumasok doon pero hindi niya kaya kasi talagang malakas na [iyong apoy]. Iyong papa niya alam niya na nandoon iyong anak nila kaya siya ang pumasok doon pero hindi niya nakayanan iyong mainit na apoy kaya pati iyong ama nasunog din, (The mother wanted to rush inside but the fire was too big. [Jeffery] was the one who rushed inside but he was unable to endure the heat),” he said.

Jeffery was unable to locate his daughter. He was rushed to the hospital but was declared dead after sustaining second degree burns.

The Bureau of Fire Protection (BFP) said the fire lasted for two hours and caused P300,000 to P400,000 worth of damage.—(with reports from Toto Fabros)

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Over 6,000 fire incidents in the last four months—BFP

by Aileen Cerrudo   |   Posted on Wednesday, May 1st, 2019

FILE PHOTO: Filipino firemen use water hoses to extinguish a fire in a slum area of Quezon City, east of Manila, Philippines, January 1, 2015. The fire, which razed more than 800 houses made from light materials, leaves thousands of families homeless during the start of the year 2015. According to news reports, the fire started when a firecracker landed in an unattended house, a fire investigator said. | PVI

From January to April 29, the Bureau of Fire Protection (BFP) has recorded 6,243 fire incidents in the country which is slightly lower compared to the 6,537 fire incidents recorded in same period last year.

Residents of Barangay Baesa in Quezon City had to clean up what’s left of their homes after a fire broke out on Tuesday (April 30).

READ: Fire breaks out in 3 villages in Quezon City

According to BFP, the fire reached Task Force Bravo after burning down 500 houses and displacing around 1,000 families. The fire was declared under control around 8:00 p.m.

Marylene Pabelico, one of the residents of Barangay Baesa, is worried about their future. Their family lost half a million due to the fire including a machine they used for business.

Her mother had been confined in the hospital leaving the family struggling to make ends meet.

“Na-confine po kasi ang nanay ko tapos lumabas siya noong Linggo. Siyempre naghahanapbuhay kami, naggagamot din siya, wala pa po kasi kaming pambili (My mom was confined, she just got out last Sunday. Of course we are working but we also have to pay for her medicines. We don’t have the money yet),” she said.

Lip Casas, another resident, withdrew money a day before the fire. That money ended up being burned along with their home.

“Kahapon nag-withdraw kami. Hindi namin namalayan na ganito mangyayari, iyon… nasunog pati pera(We withdrew money yesterday. I did not expect this will money. Our money also burned in the fire)” Casas said.

The BFP estimates around P2 million worth of damage.

Despite their losses, residents of barangay Baesa ares till thankful because they have not lost any of their relatives.

Among the ashes comes rebirth, the willingness to start over.

“Sikap ulit. Simula uli sa simula, (Strive hard once again. We’re back to square one)” Darwin Ato said.

The BFP is currently looking into the cause of the fire.—Aileen Cerrudo (with reports from Rey Pelayo)

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BFP temporarily closes Pacific Coast Plaza Condominium

by Aileen Cerrudo   |   Posted on Tuesday, April 30th, 2019

The Bureau of Fire Protection (BFP) of Parañaque City has temporarily closed the Pacific Coast Plaza Condominium due to reports of defective fire protection equipment.

An 80-year-old woman was killed while six were injured in the fire that hit the building on Monday (April 29). The fire reached general alarm at around 12:30 p.m. and engulfed six upper floors of the 23-floor building.

The chief of BFP-Parañaque Supt. Robert Pacis said they continue to probe on the incident. They also asked the tenants to temporarily leave the premises while they ensure the safety of the building.

“Ang lower part, papasok pa rin tayo sa fire protection equipment, kapag wala pa ring compliance iyong fire protection equipment. Hindi pa rin pwedeng i-occupy, (The building cannot be occupied unless there is compliance about the fire protection equipment)” he said.

Meanwhile, the engineering department of Parañaque City Hall is also inspecting the structural integrity of the building.—Aileen Cerrudo (with reports from Nel Maribojoc)

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