Opol town to investigate what firefighters describe as ‘rubbish fire’ at a bus company yard

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CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY – Citing the harm to environment and people caused by burned toxic materials, the Municipal Government of Opol will investigate the fire incident inside the Rural Transit Mindanao Incorporated (RTMI) yard that razed at least 14 old buses.

Engineer Randolph Hallasgo, Opol Municipal Environment and Natural Resources officer MENRO, said there is a need for investigation because the fire involved hazardous and toxic materials from old buses.

Fire Senior Inspector Sam Laurence Velarde, Opol Municipal Fire Marshal, said that the fire incident transpired RTMI yard at Zone 1, Barangay Igpit, Opol, Misamis Oriental province last April 20.

Velarde stressed it only took them less than two hours to control the fire as they got quick help from El Salvador Fire Station in Misamis Oriental, Bulua Fire Station and Cogon Fire Station in Cagayan de Oro.

The BFP considered the incident as “rubbish fire” that involved scrap materials, but Hallasgo said they have to give it an extensive investigation anyway.

“Our concern here is their wastes that got burned, that’s hazardous and toxic to the health of the people,” Hallasgo explained, adding that it was already the second fire that hit RTMI in less than a month.

RTMI management has expressed willingness to fully cooperate in the investigation.

As people continue to ask on the extent and damage caused by the fire, Velarde said they were still determining the exact number of old and scrap buses that were burned.

He said he already have coordinated with the security personnel of RTMI yard to determine the origin and extent of the fire.

“We are looking at all the angles of this incident,” Velarde said.  

RTMI is a bus line under the umbrella of Yanson Group of Bus Companies (YGBC). It operates in northern and western Mindanao with headquarters in Cagayan de Oro City. It has bases both in Cagayan de Oro, Pagadian City in Zamboanga del Sur province, and in Dipolog City, Zamboanga del Norte province.

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