Fire chief discourages use of window iron grills

June 1, 2010 8:35 pm 

DUMAGUETE CITY, June 1 – Iron grills on windows and doors in many residential and business establishments may prevent or reduce break-ins but unknown to most people, these can also be a hindrance to fire fighters not just in containing a fire but in saving lives as well.

Sr. Insp. William Tacaldo said his office has been discouraging the use of iron grills especially in sleeping rooms, citing a provision in the Fire Code that mandates that these rooms “must have an opening which can be opened from the inside without the use of (cutting) tools.”

Tacaldo’s statement comes in the heels of the weekend fire that hit a rented house in Camanjac where four women were trapped and found dead inside their bedroom.

Tacaldo said the bathroom also did not have a window or any form of exit, such as a ceiling manhole, except for a door leading to the bedroom.

Renato Flores, a private watchman hired by the renter of the house, said that he banged on the glass window of the women’s room at the height of the fire, and even tried to destroy the iron grills that were bolted from the inside, but in vain.

Tacaldo noted that majority of the houses are now constructed with iron grills for security reasons, which is understandable and cannot be avoided. But, he urged the public to make sure that there has to be a portion in the window measuring at least 55 square centimeters as an emergency manhole.

He also lamented that some applicants for fire safety inspection present a building plan that omit details such as construction of iron grills which are put up only after the fire department’s approval of the plan.

The fire chief assured that he is very discerning in signing and approving building plans, especially those that include the installation of iron grills. (PNA) LAP/JFP

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