Not an accident

Arson eyed in Isla Verde fire: BFP-XI
FIRE investigators are looking at arson as the possible cause of the huge blaze that gobbled several houses and displaced 36 families in Purok 4, Isla Verde Brgy. 23-C yesterday dawn.

According to SF01 Ramil Gillado, spokesperson of the Bureau of Fire Protection-XI, eyewitnesses claimed to have seen two unidentified men lurking around the house of one Saidi Labi where the fire was supposed to have started.

The witnesses insisted that the two men were seen scampering away with a cannister. Labi was not at home at the time of the incident. Responders received a call for assistance around 3:10 a.m.

“We are looking into this angle,” Gallado said, although he did not discount the other possible causes of the fire.

“We also consider that maybe there were some objects inside the house, electrical or others, that were not properly removed from the electric sockets or turned off, leading to overheating or short circuit,” said Gillado.

Fire investigators have not yet talked to Labi about the incident.

The BFP-XI placed the total damage at around P500,000.

According to data provided by Gillado, it was the 24th fire incident recorded in the city for this month. He recommended that the public should be mindful of their electronics and other fire hazards like gas stoves or candles whenever they leave the house.

“Especially now it is Kadayawan and houses will be left locked up, residents should first make sure devices that can overheat are unplugged, their stove turned off and in the case of wood or charcoal burning for their cooking, be completely put out,” he said.

In Davao City, a total of 377 incidents from January to Aug. 18 was recorded, mostly residential and grass fires.

Meanwhile, Ma. Luisa Bermudo, head of the City Social Services and Development Office, told TIMES that the number of affected families is still being finalized.

“The number of affected families might go down the more we finalize the investigation,” she said.

Apart from food stuff, blankets, and cookware, the local government also provides P10,000 assistance to totally damaged homes and P5,000 for partially damaged homes, renters and boarders.

Gillado added people living in tightly packed neighborhood with houses made of light materials need to be extra vigilant because the blaze could spread quickly. He recounted the incident in Isla Verde, Brgy. 23-C in 2014 where atleast 5,000 residents were severely affected after the fire spread to two neighboring barangays.