A FIRE struck the plant of a company that manufactures paint, varnish, thinner and other construction chemicals in Sitio Pilit, Barangay Cabancalan, Mandaue City on Thursday dawn, Feb. 11, 2021.
The blaze reportedly started at the chemical section of Treasure Island Industrial Corp., the manufacturer of Island Paints.
The company said in a statement that not a single employee was hurt; its personnel on duty when the fire broke out made sure the plant’s other sections were not affected.
Mandaue City Fire Marshal Nelson Ababon said they received the alarm at 2:37 a.m.
As of 7 p.m., 16 hours after the fire alarm was received, the firefighting operation was still ongoing.
Ababon said they have yet to determine the cause of the blaze.
John Devi Eslera, who lives near the plant, said he heard an explosion from the plant around 2 a.m.
Eslera, a responder at the Mandaue City Disaster Risk Reduction Management Office (CDRRMO), heard plant workers screaming. When he looked outside his house, he saw the flames.
He then reported what he saw to the Mandaue City Command Center.
Ababon said after receiving the first alarm at 2:37 a.m., the first team of firefighters arrived at the plant at 2:40 a.m.
The city fire station raised the level to a second alarm at 3:01 a.m., requiring at least eight fire trucks in the area. At 3:06 a.m, the alarm was further raised to a third alarm, which now required at least 12 fire trucks.
The fire alarm level was on third alarm for nearly 12 hours before the fire was declared under control at 2:45 p.m.
During the third alarm level, Ababon said they confined the fire within the plant. No other warehouses, houses or structures were affected by the fire.
He admitted it was difficult to extinguish the fire with plain water as the flames were fueled by chemicals.
As a result, they used Aqueous Film-Forming Foam (AFFF) solution and mixed it with the water in their fire trucks.
Ababon said they used all of the fire station’s 10 pails of AFFF and the company ordered additional AFFF solutions.
Mandaue CDRRMO head Buddy Allain Ybañez said they have implemented on Thursday morning a preemptive evacuation of all residents living near the plant.
Ybañez said they want to secure the residents from inhaling chemical smoke.
According to the healthline website, inhaling harmful smoke can inflame the lungs and airways, causing the person to swell as he can no longer inhale oxygen. This can lead to acute respiratory distress syndrome and respiratory failure.
The residents were transferred to the Cabancalan gym, said Maricel Yu, head of the City Social Welfare and Services. / KFD