A fire broke out in a property in Brgy. San Manuel on Sunday night, destroying the facilities of well-known fast-food brands Jollibee, Greenwich, and Mang Inasal.
The blazing fires incinerated newly-unloaded merchandise into the warehouses, almost entirely consuming them, according to the local Bureau of Fire Protection (BFP).
City Fire Marshal Supt. Nilo Caabay, who was on the scene, said the situation was reported to them at 9:28 p.m. via a 911 call, and they reacted immediately. However, they had difficulty accessing the compound due to a fence and restricted space inside the area, which only allowed two fire vehicles to enter.
“Medyo kung titingnan mo, maganda sana yong area dahil magaan, walang kapit bahay. Ang mahirap lang, yong entrance niya makipot dahil may gate. Dalawang truck lang yong puwede sa loob. Ibig sabihin, the rest ng truck naka relay na lang (Upon closer inspection, the area would have been ideal as it is spacious and has no nearby neighbors. However, the only challenge is its narrow entrance due to a gate, which can only accommodate two trucks inside. This means that the remaining trucks had to be on relay),” Caabay said.
He said it was also challenging to extinguish the fire quickly due to the intensity of the flames, which caused the four fire trucks that initially responded to run out of water. Another contributing factor to its rapid spread, despite efforts to spray water, was the presence of burning plastic materials inside the three warehouses.
Prior to the fire, an explosion was reportedly heard by some residents in the area. Caabay said it is possible because most of the products were frozen.
“Posible yong angulo na yan, pero still, tayo ay nasa process pa rin ng pagkakalap ng information. Mapa-finalize natin yan kapag nakapag identify na ng witnesses at nakapag execute na ng affidavit para hindi iba-iba yong statements (That angle is possible, but we are still in the process of gathering information. We can finalize it once we have identified witnesses and obtained executed affidavits to ensure that the statements are consistent),” he said.
Since the three warehouses had recently received new supplies, it is likely that the value of the products lost in the fire will amount to millions. Caabay said they will contact the fast-food chains and request that they submit affidavits of losses to determine the cost of the damage.
There were no reported injuries among the guards or staff of the warehouses, although some vehicles were burned, he said.
Caabay emphasized the importance of fire safety measures for all residents in the city. These measures include turning off the main switch when leaving the house for an extended period, regularly checking outlets for plugged-in appliances, unplugging appliances before sleeping, and continuing to do so even upon waking up in the middle of the night, as power fluctuations can occur.
Another important practice is to always have water available in the comfort rooms and kitchen in case of a fire, and to avoid using candles or any improvised lighting during brownouts, but instead opting for battery-powered lights that are readily available and affordable.
He also reminded that immediately calling the BFP hotline in case of a fire and having their contact number on hand for quick response at the onset can greatly help in preventing further damage. (R. Luzares)