By Antonio L. Colina IV
Davao City — The Interagency Anti-Arson Task Force deputy team leader and spokesperson Fire Supt. Jerry Candido said that the management of the NCCC Mall did not comply with vital fire safety requirements.
The mall was completely destroyed in a fire that started December 23, lasted more than 24 hours, and killed 38 workers.
In a teleconference on Tuesday, Candido told reporters that establishment did not comply with the fire suppression requirement, and found lapses in the setup of the mall’s fire alarm, sprinkler system, and fire exits.
He said that the sprinkler system of the third and fourth floors of the mall did not work when the fire happened.
Candido said that the sprinkler system’s control valve on the third floor had no sprinkler head while the fourth floor’s was intact but installed outside the facility of the Survey Sampling International (SSI).
He said it should have been installed inside the facility as a fire suppression requirement.
Candido also noted that the floor control valve on the third floor was closed due to the ongoing renovation, while that on the fourth floor had long been shut due to the operation of the SSI.
He said the sprinklers would not spray water if the floor control valve is closed.
The task force, which is composed of Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG), Bureau of Fire Protection (BFP), National Bureau of Investigation (NBI), Department of Justice (DOJ), and Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG) Region 11, also found out that alarm system of the mall was not on automatic, and did not reach the fourth floor as the SSI’s alarm system was not connected with that of the mall.
“Whatever happens to NCCC Mall, the call center agents inside the SSI office would not hear the alarm. Same thing if the fire will start inside the SSI office, those in the third, second, and ground floors, will not know there’s fire. The alarm system was not interconnected,” he said.
Candido added that the fire exits were not compliant with the Fire Code of the Philippines as these were not heat and smoke-proof.
He said the task force has yet to determine what charges to file against the mall management and five officials of BFP who were earlier relieved from their posts for issuing the establishment a fire safety inspection certification (FSIC) when the building was not complaint with the Fire Code.
Relieved officials included Senior Fire Officer 1 Leo Lauzon, the fire safety Inspector of SSI Office; Senior Fire Officer 2 Joel Quizmundo, the Fire Safety Inspector of NCCC Mall; Senior Fire Officer 1 Roger Dumag, Chief of the Fire Safety Section of Davao City; Inspector Renero Jimenez, the Station Commander of SIR Fire Station; Superintendent Honee Fritz Alagano, the District Fire Marshal of Davao City.