The Zamboanga City Fire District Office reported an alarming increase in grass fire incidents in different parts of the city from January to March this year.
Of the total 216 fire incidents reported during the period, 32 were structural fire while 184 were non-structural fire. Grass fires, which fall under non-structural fire, accounted 153 or over 70% of the total 184 fire incidents.
Frequent cause of the grass fires was either unattended bonfire, ignition of material caused by welding slag or lit cigarettes, according to SInsp Douglas Zabala, Chief for Operations of the Zamboanga City Fire District.
As this developed, Mayor Beng Climaco appealed to the public to be responsible and extra careful when handling fire such as lit cigarettes or bonfires to prevent fire and the loss of lives and properties.
She also directed the BFP, City Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office with the assistance of the Zamboanga City Police Office to reiterate precautionary measures to educate the public on fire prevention.
Meanwhile, of the total 216 fire incidents, 52 were reported in January with damage estimated at P2.780M; 76 were recorded in February with estimated damage at P1.399M while 88 cases occurred in March with damage estimated at P1.501M.
The structural fire incidents affected 22 residential houses, 3 commercial establishments, 4 business establishments, a storage facility, an assembly site and an educational building.
Among the causes of structural fire incidents were electrical ignition caused by short circuit, gas leak, incendiary device, mechanism/ intentional, lighted cigarette butt, candle/gasera, unattended cooking stove and rekindled firewood, Zabala added. (Sheila Covarrubias)