The National – Monday, June 27, 2011
CHIEF Fire Officer Isaac Silas said an electrical fault was the cause of the Martin Tsang fire in Madang in March.
In a press statement last Thursday, Silas said the wirings to the main distribution board and sub-distribution board had melted louvres, “pointing to the fact that the cause of the fire was electrical”.
He said investigations found that most of the wirings were as old as the building.
The report said that because there were many deep freezers being used, the demand for power caused an overload, which melted the wires and sparked the blaze.
Silas, who recently returned from Lae to attend a five-day conference themed “Partnership in saving property and lives”, said it was all about learning to work in partnership when responding to fires.
He said some ways of preventing and/or handling situations such as the Tsang fire included:
* Having buildings inspected by the Fire Services, PNG Power, the building board, and where applicable, an insurance company representative to determine what type of risks were visible;
* Training security guards on how to collaborate with the fire brigade, especially to ensure entry into a building during a fire;
* Owners to have contact with and be supplied with fire safety equipment such as sprinklers or automatic alarms; and
* For the chamber of commerce to develop a culture of fire safety among its members and for his men to conduct more emergency response exercises.
Silas said that improved building inspections, community education and knowledge of fire safety regulations would protect buildings better.