Firemen thwart burning of ZCMC during MNLF attack PDF Print E-mail
Friday, 04 October 2013 11:40

If not because of the swift response from the different fire stations and sub-stations’ fire engine company (FEC) under the Zamboanga City Fire District (ZCFD), who bravely worked each other during a fire incident last September 15, 2013, several buildings to include the multi-million peso worth facilities and equipment of Tzu Chi Foundation Eye Center 2-Storey building located inside the Zamboanga City Medical Center (ZCMC) compound, could have been razed to the ground and destroyed during the early morning blaze fire perpetrated by MNLF rebels in Lustre St., Sta. Catalina.

ZCFD District Fire Marshal F/Supt. Dominador F. Zabala, Jr. said yesterday that unknown to the public, during this particular Zamboanga crisis incident, when he and other fire marshals assessed the conflagration was fast spreading and approaching the Tzu Chi Foundation Eye Center building at that time coupled with the scarcity of water source since incidentally fire hydrants pressure inside the hospital compound was too low and the water tanker trucks of the Zamboanga City Water District were not given clearance by the management to assist and supply water to the fire trucks at the fire scene, he decided and immediately directed the fire engine company (FEC) of five fire stations in Barangays Upper Calarian, Ayala, Talisayan and Recodo in the west coast and Boalan in the east coast to quickly respond/proceed to the ZCMC to assist the first seven FECs to arrive of the Central Fire Station to include that of Barangays Sta Maria, Tetuan, Guiwan and Sta. Catalina Fire Stations and two FEC of the Zamboanga Fil-Chinese Volunteer Fire Brigade in suppressing and containing the fires at the ZCMC that lasted for about 10 hours. A total of 15 FECs or firetrucks helped each other in fighting the flames and covered exposure technique operation thereby successfully prevented the ZCMC buildings and Tzu Chi Eye Center edifice from a near inferno.

The ZCFD also dispatched their aerial platform special type fire truck with an 80 feet high angle elevated boom and water turret on its tip that need no personnel or crew in combating destructive fires. It can be maneuvered manually thru buttons and lever only by the operator on the ground. It was utilized because of MNLF snipers firing at firefighters while containing the fire to spread to other buildings of the hospital.

Zabala further revealed that while their firefighters were trying to contain the fire at the ZCMC’s Tzu Chi’s Eye Center, MNLF fighters continued to fire at their firefighters in the areas of conflict.

He stressed that despite the threats on their lives because of the continued sporadic fires from MNLF forces, the ZCFD firefighters continued their mandated duty of responding and containing the fires once military ground commander grants clearance to do so the soonest possible time.

“The timely arrival of firetrucks or FEC from other fire stations and sub-stations of the ZCFD has prevented the fire from destroying our city’s multi-million facilities, equipment and other buildings of the ZCMC,” Zabala said.