Calaca, Batangas evacuees near LPG depot fear going home

The Calaca LPG storage facility at the height of the fire Saturday, February 20 2016. (Photo by Bernardo Batuigas, Philippine Star)

via Interaksyon |

Residents who were evacuated at the height of the accidental fire at a liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) storage facility in the coastal town of Calaca, Batangas still refused to return to their homes Tuesday even if the fire in three of four bullet tanks had been extinguished.

A “fire out” was declared early Tuesday after the fire broke out Saturday afternoon at the facility.

But some of the close to 300 families who were moved to evacuation centers feared an explosion might suddenly occur.

News5 video report by Jenny Dongon 

Engr. Ronie Badidles, spokesperson for South Pacific Inc., owner of the LPG storage facility at the Phoenix Petroterminal Industrial Park, doused their apprehension by explaining it in simple terms.

Badidles gave as an example the 11 kilogram LPG tank that households usually use in cooking. When the tank is already emptied of the gas, the flame it emits just dies down. He said the same principle holds true with the storage facility.

He added that even if 7,000 metric tons of LPG burned, it will not cause an explosion because the metal standard used and methodology in the facility was fitted to be safe.

South Pacific had said that it was prepared to extend assistance to those who may be affected by the fire.

Because of the incident, the local government said it will institute strict measures before issuing building permits.

“We will have to sit down together with the stakeholders and we have to probably set some stronger or firm guidelines… more on safety nets,” said Mayor Sofronio Ona.

The LGU will also determine if the company had violated certain guidelines.

Some evacuees had started packing their belongings while others preferred to stay for the night just to make sure that they are completely safe.