By JIGGER J. JERUSALEM
INVESTIGATORS yesterday considered the possibility that the fire that consumed a portion of the remaining 5,000 metric tons of mostly plastic trash from South Korea dumped at the Phividec Industrial Estate in Tagoloan, Misamis Oriental could be due to spontaneous combustion.
Insp. Randy Obsioma, Tagoloan fire station chief, said it’s possible that the fire was due to methane gas found in the garbage that was stocked at the VNS Verde Soko Philippines Industrial Corp. yard.
It can be recalled that Verde Soko was under fire after the Bureau of Customs red-flagged the plastic wastes it imported from South Korea for not properly declaring it.
The Department of Environment and Natural Resources in Northern Mindanao said Verde Soko did not have an import permit that would have allowed the company to transport the garbage.
The heat, Obsioma said, could have sparked the fire.
“Residents living nearby have already seen smoke coming from Verde Soko on Monday morning, but they did not mind it. They were only alarmed when the smoke got bigger,” Obsioma said.
He said eyewitness said that aside from a guard, a farmer was inside the Verde Soko compound to bring his cow to graze.
Obsioma said fire fighters had to bring in earth-moving equipment like a backhoe and a payloader to stop the fire from spreading, which ate up about a quarter of the mound of garbage.
As of yesterday afternoon, Obsioma said Tagoloan fire investigators are conducting a thorough investigation by gathering more information.
The fire official also blamed the Verde Soko management for what he said was negligence on their part.
He said there were lapses on the part of Verde Soko as they did not handle the trash properly.