Gas leak causes fire
Filling balloons with hydrogen led to a fire in a party needs shop located inside a house in Barangay Longos, Malabon City on Sunday, leaving two people hurt and seven families homeless.
The blaze which started at Cheenee’s Party Needs and Catering Services on Lapu-Lapu Avenue destroyed five houses and caused at least P70,000 worth of damage, according to Fire Inspector Efren Calumag, chief of the Malabon City Fire Station operations division.
The fire started at 11 a.m. after the nozzle of a hydrogen tank being used to inflate balloons malfunctioned, according to Mel Gepilano, the shop’s operations manager.
Gepilano said the gas continued to leak as the worker frantically tried but failed to close the tank’s nozzle.
Just two rooms away, Gepilano’s mother, Arlene, was cooking lunch on a stove, according to her niece Jean Gaurano. As the hydrogen came into contact with the flames, there was an explosion.
Lorita Bugacia, a worker, was taken to the hospital for minor wounds along with another person who suffered a hip injury after jumping from the house’s second floor when the fire broke out. Arlene was also brought to the hospital after her blood pressure shot up.
The blaze reached the third alarm at 11:27 a.m. before it was finally put out by noon by at least 40 firefighters.
Calumag said the firefighters had yet to determine whether the establishment violated any fire safety codes by having a hydrogen pump near the cooking area and whether it has the necessary business permits.
Initial investigation showed that the shop normally used helium, a noncombustible gas, for balloons but their supplier recently ran out, Calumag added.
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