Hard times don’t create heroes. It is during the hard times when the “Hero” within us is revealed. Bob Riley
Lamut, Ifugao – In the evening of August 1, 2014, the municipality of Lamut was awakened by distress call that the Public Market was terribly ravaged by fire. It was a night of wretchedness for the constituents. The smoke spreads faster that it reached the PNP-Lamut Station and was noticed by SPO1 Marilou G. Dillagan and SPO1 Jose B Abluyan Jr. Immediately, they informed the Lamut Fire Station by phone reporting that fire is on progress at the Lamut Public Market. Acting on this information, Shift B duty personnel led by F03 Andy T Puguon , acting as Ground Commander, F02 Randy N Mondiguing and F02 Karl Jason D. Monayao as DPO and F01 Victor D Ullani as FAI aboard the LGU and BFP firetruck accompanied by OPFM-personnel F02 Kelvin D Monayao responded at the reported fire scene reaching it at around 2358 of the same date. It was indeed a devotion to duty that powered the hearts of these heroic firemen to provide service under the glowing flames.
Upon arrival, they noticed that service drop at the electric post in front and rear portion of the stalls was sparking accompanied by explosions with huge smoke emitting at the roof of the centermost of the building. The gallant firemen were faced with great hazard that they could not immediately set to extinguish the fire due to the live service drop and with the numerous lock on doors of the stalls. As the fire glows, Shift A led by F03 Vincent Potang, F02 Julian Guhic, F02 Nelson Kimmayong , F01 Tomas Dulawan and F01 Janice Joyce B Ramirez restlessly and fearlessly responded as well of the said fire station. It was a supportive action that while the Lamut Public Market was being eaten by fire, Mayor of the town Hon. Mariano Buyagawan was there offering selfless help to the firemen and witnessed the devotion of those firemen in suppressing the fire. He showed firmness while doing whatever it takes to help stifle the flames that consumed the market.
Albert L Duntog, market guard of the Public Market rendering night duty from 6: oo o’clock PM to 6:00 AM said in his sworn statement that at around 7:45 PM, he inspected the premises and nobody was around, switched off the lights but left at least two bulbs lighted at the vegetable section three at the dry goods and two bulb lights at the meat section, closed the gates and then proceeded to his post to observe and watch. His last roving was at around 1:00 PM of the same date. At around midnight, he was awakened by a burned like odor and noticed that a huge smoke was emitting from the center portion between the vegetable section and the commercial building so he rushly open the gate. Fortunately, Mr. Baldwin Jos C. Gacusan, the lineman of the Ifugao Electric Cooperative (IFELCO) was informed of the incident and hurriedly shut the power supply at the electric post. When the firemen opened the door of the stall owned by Clyde Indopia by hammering through the axe and engaged to extinguish the fire, it is eminent that the base of the fire was at the back of the building. Then, they repositioned and penetrated inside passing through the gate at the right portion of the public market. When they were inside the market to extinguish the fire, they discovered that the fire was in the vicinity of the stalls owned by a certain Pacita G. Banhan and Emma Marquez which was on its smoldering stage accompanied by explosions that fastly spread to all directions. Upon sized-up, the fire could not be possibly extinguished so the BFP responders declared a general alarm into which all nearby fire station shall augment in the firefighting operation. Adjacent fire stations of Bagabag, Nueva Viscaya and Kiangan augmented to the firefighting operation minutes later. Nueva Vizcaya BFP personnel was led by SF04 Erwin Dacumos, F03 Jorge Caleha, F01 Dominic Ponhagban as DPO, F01 Andy Banglig and F01 Jonathan Flojo as well as Kiangan BFP personnel F02 Melvin Maguling, F01 Motwa P. Ligaspi , , F01 Alfred Bugatti and F01 Ballitoc. Unfortunately, the firetruck of Lagawe Fire Station driven by SF01 Fernando Tinapay with SF01 Francisco Locaben and F01 Stephen Jay P. Dunuan did not reached the fire scene due to mechanical problem it encountered along the way where the fire truck nearly fell into the ravine.
Those who volunteer to fight fires are people who truly care. During the firefighting action, some people got involved and amplified in terms of suppression, food, emergency and medical assistance, coordination with other line agencies and tele-communication support as well. Members of the firefighting brigade of Lamut led by Jojie Dinamaan gave assistance as alternate nozzle man/lineman with the BFP personnel of Lamut. A mother’s care and love were showed by Dra. Vilma Q. Dela Cruz in giving food and water to the exhausted firemen. Without her selfless support and concern, the firemen would probably end up extremely drained and having hard time for almost five hours of firefighting. The municipality of Lamut was facing a mischance and needed so much help from everyone. Even the personnel of Alfonso Lista Fire Station to mention on-call MFM SF01 Jaime H Dinamaan, off-duty F01 Jun Tiyad responded and augmented in the fire scene. Telecommunication support was very helpful wherein OPFM-Ifugao personnel F01 Carmen D Potang and F01 Chrisen Defery G Camilo assumed as COMMEL personnel informing all fire station and other agencies about the incident for augmentation. The Governor of Ifugao Hon. Denis Habawel arrived at the scene and showed concern as well. Upon arrival at the fire scene, SF02 AbelardoBatton, MFM of Lamut Fire Station turns over the command to CINSP ANGELICO ALBERT B BUYAYO being the over-all ground commander with the supportive action of the Chief of Operations SF01 Jonathan R Sarol and F02 Jeff Christian D Jamias. After long hours of operation, Dra. Quilang and the councilors of the municipality Hon. Brenda Sawad, Hon. Dolores Mateo, Hon. Jose Wesnit and Atty. Adrian B Chaguile offered food to the firemen.
It took the firemen more than five (5) hours of firefighting and declared fire out at about 5:30 AM of August 2, 2014. Findings on the Final Investigation Report revealed that the fire was caused by Electrical Short Circuit either due to overloaded service drop, burned insulation or abrasion caused by external factors such as sharp objects including GI roofing and loosed tapping connections. The burned structure was constructed in the early 1990s and not covered by insurance and made with materials susceptible from burning. Thorough and perusal investigation revealed that there was no sign for the Crime of Arson which is being ascertained. Hence, the investigator on case requests the investigation be dropped and closed. The estimated cost of damage amounted to more or less PhP7, 809,559.00.
Luke Perry once said, “I’ve tons of odd jobs, but I think that I would probably be a firemen because you get to see results of your job. You get there and there is a house on fire. You leave and there’s no fire anymore.”END#F01 Chrisen Defery G Camilo-PIO, OPFM-IFUGAO#