Virac mayor rebuffs BFP on fire truck’s detail to Bato
posted 1-Dec-2018  ·  
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Just hours before a fire razed the former jail building inside the capitol compound, the Bureau olf Fire Protection regional office directed its provincial fire marshal to detail one of Virac’s fire trucks to the Bato fire station, a move promptly opposed by Mayor Samuel Laynes.

Official sources say that on Nov. 20, 2018, acting Provincial Fire Marshal Senior Inspector Rico Brizuela received a memorandum from BFP regional office caretaker Supt. Alberto de Baguio advising him to direct the acting municipal fire marshal of Virac to have one of its three fire trucks, the Kia Anos mini fire truck, detailed at the Bato Fire Station until such time the repair of Bato’s fire truck is completed.

The Bato fire truck was damaged when it rammed a residential building after losing its brakes while responding to the water crisis in nearby San Miguel town, forcing Mayor Eulogio Rodriguez to request higher BFP headquarters for assistance.

Upon receipt of the directive, Fire Inspector Dennis Tadoy of the Virac BFP immediately communicated the matter to Mayor Laynes and sought his approval of the matter.

In his response to Supt. De Baguio, Mayor Laynes stressed that Virac, as a first-class municipality, needs to maintain its firefighting capability due to the concentration of population in the urban center, residential houses and business establishments, malls and two high-rise buildings, which demand the highest level of BFP response.

Citing the blaze that broke out at the old provincial jail, the chief executive pointed out that, had it not been for the availability of the fire trucks at the Virac Fire Station, the fire that reached 4th alarm may have not been easily contained and may have spread to the adjacent Catanduanes Convention Center and qa cluster of houses just 20 meters away.

Laynes suggested to the BFP regional in-charge that the fire trucks be kept within the Virac Fire Station and assured its availability and readiness at any time should a fire occur in Bato as it is just a 10-minute drive from the capital town.

A comparison of the firefighting requirements of the two towns shows that Virac has a population of 73,650 in 63 barangays while Bato has 19.984 people in 27 villages as of November 2018.

A total of 1,757 business establishments, including two malls and two buildings of seven-story height or more, operate in the capital town, compared to Bato’s 210 businesses.

Statistics also show that for this year, there have been eight fire incidents in Virac, with Bato recording only two for the same period.

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