DAVAO CITY, Philippines — The Inter-Agency Anti-Arson Task Force recommended the filing of criminal charges of reckless imprudence resulting to multiple homicide and multiple physical injuries against the owners of the NCCC mall and the American Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) company SSI for last years mall fire which killed 38 call center workers.
Charged were officers and employees of NCCC (New City Commercial Center) Mall: Helen Lim, Lafayette Lim, Ivy Michelle Lim, Sharlene Faye Lim, Ivy Spencer Lim, Julie Ann Lim and Ramon del Castillo; SSI (Survey Sampling International) Philippines: Jose Antonio San Gabriel, Riza Lyn Ocampo, Rey Robles, Christopher Fanning and David Ian Weatherseed.
Also held liable were officers and project engineers of AC Rockport Construction, the malls contractor: Arturo Arojado, Carmelie Arojado, Maria Lilibeth Olarte, Danna Pathricia Arojado, Carmen Paluga and Engr Wilson Velasquez.
Final investigation results of the Task Force revealed that the fire last December 23, 2017, started at the ceiling of the furniture section adjacent to the fabric and sew essentials section of the malls department store.
The fires main cause was the high temperature electrical discharge.
“It is accidental in nature but brought about by malpractice in the installation of electrical wirings during the building renovation, absence of appropriate licenses of some workers performing electrical works and the absence of building permit during renovation,” said Fire Safety Inspector Jan Garry Lunas, who presented the Task Force report.
The Task Force noted the following violations:
Floor control valves of the sprinkler system directed to the SSI and some areas in the third floor (are) non-functional;
Insufficient means of egress for the fourth floor;
Travel distances exceeded the limit set by the Fire Code;
Some exit doors have no self-closing devices;
Some stairs were not fully enclosed;
Ground floor stair landing in one of the fire exit was used as storage;
Failure to notify the BFP of the non-functional fire alarm and sprinkler systems;
No dry standpipes installed on the fire exits;
No proper raceways that protected the electrical wirings on the renovated areas in the 3rd floor; and
Designated fire inspections failure to indicate the correct fire safety status of the building and its violations.
The Task Force also recommended the filing of administrative case for grave misconduct and violations of the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Law against former Davao City Building Official Joaquin B. Cui, Jr., PEZA Mactan Economic Zone Officers and some Bureau of Fire Protection officers and personnel.
The Task Force completed the investigation in 60 days and forwarded to the Department of Justice last March 9 for assessment and continuation of the filing of charges.
For his part, retired military chief and now head of the Department of Interior and Local Government Eduardo Año said “Fire safety is an effort, a partnership of all the parties. It should work both ways for the BFP and the mall officers.”
“The Bureau of Fire Protection is headed towards modernization. The agency was given an initial of P1 billion pesos for the procurement of 5 truck ladders, 10 units of 2500 gallon tankers and breathing apparatus to protect from smoke and heat,” Año added. (davaotoday.com)