Fire hits NGCP Alabang tower
A transmission tower of the National Grid Corp. of the Philippines in Alabang, Muntinlupa City was damaged by a fire in an informal settlement around it on Wednesday, as it leaned over a portion of the South Luzon Expressway and caused a massive traffic jam in the area.
Bureau of Fire Protection Muntinlupa Chief Supt. Gilbert Dolot said the fire broke out in Barangay Alabang involving a residential structure near the SLEX Alabang Exit (Northbound), where the Biñan-Muntinlupa 230kV power line was located, at 8:48 a.m.
The fire was raised to second alarm and weakened the foundation of the NGCP’s tower causing it to collapse and lean toward the Alabang Skyway flyover, Dolot added.
Both northbound and southbound lanes of the Alabang SLEX Viaduct were temporarily closed due to the fire.
According to BFP-Muntinlupa, 80 families, whose homes were made of light and concrete masonry, were affected by the fire. Authorities are still investigating the cause of the blaze and the amount of damages to property.
No casualty or injury was reported, and the fire was declared out at 9:15 a.m. At the same time, NGCP personnel were on site to assess the damage and check the safety perimeter. Aerial patrols were also conducted to evaluate the integrity of the tower.
Due to the extent of the fire, the foundation of Tower 34 of the NGCP line was weakened, causing it to lean, the firm said.
Muntinlupa Social Service Department responded to the fire and provided meals for the affected families. Mayor Jaime Fresnedi also vowed to provide the fire victims with financial assistance.
NGCP said there were no power interruptions recorded due to the transmission service provider’s line redundancy system and has begun restoration of the tower to ensure public safety.
“The power carried by the affected transmission facilities was immediately diverted to other facilities, and no loss of transmission services was experienced,” the firm said.
Any loss of power in the area may be attributed to mitigating measures undertaken by the distribution utility, the NGCP added.
“We are again taking this opportunity to remind everyone to respect transmission rights of way. Areas immediately underneath and around a tower site should be free from all obstructions and structures,” it said.
Areas underneath transmission lines should be clear from any structure more than three meters high, the NGCP added. “These structures not only pose a hazard to the continued operations of transmission functions but also pose a direct threat to the safety of people around them.”
NGCP called on all local government units to support the power company’s efforts to remove all structures and settlers who live under transmission facilities.