Fire ventilation challenged firefighters in commercial fire

BFP personnel respond to a commercial fire at Luzuriaga Street, Barangay 37, Bacolod City that lasted for almost eight hours Sunday. (Photo courtesy of BFP-Bacolod)

By Glazyl Y. Masculino

BACOLOD City – Controlling thick black smoke from an enclosed area containing assorted combustible materials challenged firefighters who responded to a fire at Luzuriaga Street, Barangay 37 here last Sunday.

Chief Inspector Rodel Legaspi, city fire marshal, said that it took them almost eight hours to declare “fire out,” as they had to ensure that the blaze will not reignite inside the two buildings.

On Sunday morning, a fire broke out on the second floor of a general merchandise store in a three-storey building. The fire then spread to the third floor, where the other supplies that just arrived were stored.

The blaze also spread to the adjacent building through the ceiling, damaging the third floor of another store.

The fire gobbled an estimated P20.2 million worth of properties, according to the Bureau of Fire Protection (BFP).

Legaspi said that firefighters had difficulty penetrating the two buildings due to a lack of ventilation in the burning buildings.

“Amo to kabudlay gid kay sakit sa mata kag sa ilong ang smoke because of the combined materials na ara sa sulod. Need gid mag ventilate kay sobra kainit, indi man namon makaya,” he added.

Legaspi said that ventilation enables the expulsion of heat and smoke from a building, allowing firefighters to easily combat the fire.

Thus, Legaspi said firefighters need to use a ladder to destroy the covers on the third floor to provide an airway for the smoke.

“Dapat mabuksan ta siya para makagwa ang smoke kay zero visibility gid and dulom,” he added.

Legaspi also said that if firefighters continued to spray water into the affected area without ventilation, there’s a tendency that the pressure of the heat and smoke will continue to increase.

“Bug-at para sa isa ka tawo mag gamit sang equipment, so gin amat-amat ta gid. Buslanay para maka create hole for ventilation,” he added.

Despite their difficulties and exhaustion, Legaspi said they did not leave the building until everything was cleared.

“Budlay na baya-an basi may mag rekindle bala,” he added.

Legaspi said that BFP personnel checked the fire scene again the following day to probe the cause of the fire.

He thanked the support of the Chamber Volunteer Fire Brigade, the Amity Volunteer Fire Brigade, and other fire station units for augmenting the BFP.

Meanwhile, Legaspi said that the two buildings and the stores have complied with the fire safety requirements.

He, however, emphasized that they should be responsible for maintaining the necessary fire safety measures of the structures to prevent such incidents.