Tagum City Fire Marshal Chief Inspector Alex Pamaybay admitted that until now almost a week after a big fire ate up the NCCC Mall in Maa, Davao City firemen including him could not yet sleep much for the thought that they failed to rescue the 38 fire victims.
“We were already at the third floor, and we heard the voices of call center agents calling their loved ones shouting they’re still alive, their cries for help, but we could not go up farther due to intense heat… about 500 degree centigrade and above,” Pamaybay said.
“We used the fire exits at the back of the mall going up from first, second to third floors,” he said.
Pending the result of the Bureau of Fire and Protection (BFP) investigation, Pamaybay said they thought the fire started at the textile section, which might explain the quick spread of fire and the fast billowing of heavy gray smoke.
He added senior fire officers including him were directed to concentrate on rescue operation while fire personnel busied on firing out a “so really big fire.”
Pamaybay also admitted that they particularly lack firefighting cranes for heights, which he said the government should now study to procure.
Firemen who went for the failed rescue need “debriefing” to recover from their anguish causing little or no sleep, he said.
BFP firemen and good firetrucks in Region XI including six firemen and one firetruck from Tagum City were mobilized to help put off the NCCC fire.
Pamaybay said they were directed by their regional office to go to Davao City around 9:00 A.M. of Dec. 23 just as the fire started and in just 30 minutes by so fast firetruck travel they were already at the fire scene.
Meanwhile, BFP investigators are not discounting the possibility that the cause of fire is arson. (mindanaosunchronicle.com/Cha Monforte)
Tagum City Fire Marshal Chief Ins. Alex Pamaybay being interviewed by Tagum mediamen via on-location Saging Republik Media Forum.