By Ria Fernandez
An alleged gas tank leak triggered the fire that gutted a two-story townhouse along Craig Street corner España Boulevard, Sampaloc, Manila early morning Saturday.
The fire, verified at 3:52 a.m., only reached first alarm before it was put out at 4:45 a.m. or in less than an hour.
However, it consumed all three units of the residential building made of light materials. The estimated worth of damage to property was pegged at P200, 000.
One occupant, identified as Johnson Ong, 55, also sustained a third degree burn on his lower and upper extremities.
Initial probe conducted by Senior Fire Officer (SFO) Armando Baldillo, Jr. revealed that a loud explosion was heard at the ground floor, rear portion of unit no. 931 where Ong resides.
When they inspected the area, a tank of liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) was recovered.
Authorities said that the fire was probably caused by a gas leak, adding that someone could have lit up a cigarette, turned on a light switch, or cooked at the stove.
Further investigation is underway.
Meanwhile, the Manila Fire District is advising homeowners to regularly check their LPG hose and regulator to prevent the same incident from happening again. It said that one way to spot a gas leak is when bubbles appear when wet soap is applied on tank parts.
March was declared as the Fire Prevention Month by former Pres. Ferdinand Marcos due to alarming rise of fire incidents during this period.
Last Friday, the Bureau of Fire Protection (BFP) kicked off its massive awareness campaign for the whole month of March at the Quirino Grandstand in Manila.