Stamp out fire violators

Team finds human bones at the ill-fated mall

THE BUREAU of Fire Protection (BFP) has vowed to stamp out violator of the Fire Code as the city begins this week the renewal for business permits.

In an interview, multi-agency anti-arson task force spokesperson Supt. Jerry Candido said the BFP regional office has been apprised of the need to crack down on violators.

“The regional director already knows what to do,” Candido said.

Part of the requirements for business permit renewal is a fire safety inspection certificate (FSIC) signed by the BFP.

This as the spokesperson also revealed yesterday that they found human bones at the fourth floor of the ill-fated NCCC Mall.

They are still confirming if the bones belong to Alexandra Moreno, the SSI supervisor who was the last reported to be missing.

“We request the Scene of the crime operatives (SOCO) to process the bones,” Candido said

Fire probers have already established that electrical short circuit caused the 32-hour Dec. 23 mall fire that killed 37 call center agents and one mall security officer.

Five fire officers, including the city fire marshal Honey Fritz Alagano, were sacked from their post following the fire that damaged at least P1.6 billion and displaced hundreds of employees.

Alagano and the four other officers — Inspector Renero Jimenez, Senior Fire Officer 1 (SFO1) Leo Lauzon, FO2 Joel Quizmundo and SFO1 Roger Dumag – were relieved from their post for their lapses in the implementation of the Fire Code for both NCCC Mall and the US-based Survey Sampling International (SSI), a market research company which rented the four-storey mall’s top floor.

According to the initial investigation, the fire started in the third floor, where flammable materials such as furniture and fabric were located.

The fumes killed the employees who were trapped at the fourth floor.

Investigators are determining the possible liabilities of SSI and NCCC Mall in the incident.

The automatic fire suppression system, which would have released water during the fire, was reportedly disabled as a portion of the mall was under maintenance.

The alarm system of SSI was not also connected to the mall’s central alarm system.

The mall is responsible for the exits, automatic fire suppression systems, and alarm systems, Candido said.

“We could not yet establish what specific cases that will be filed,” Candido said in vernacular.

Meanwhile, Candido said the fire stations in the city badly need an aerial ladder for high-rise fires.

While Mayor Sara Duterte said the city is willing to assist in providing materials for the BFP, Candido said the problem of the Davao City Fire District “is the same problem throughout the Philippines.”

A tedious procurement process is aiming to provide 200 firetrucks in the next few years to 349 municipalities and cities in the country.