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Thursday, April 17, 2014

Firm lauds firefighters for saving office

Associated Insurance Underwriters of the Pacific management and staff pose for a group photo with Department of Public Safety commissioner Rebecca Warfield, DPS firefighters and Fire Division acting director Tom Manglona after offering gifts to the firefighters at the Garapan Fire Station yesterday. The insurance company commended the DPS firefighters for their quick response that saved the company’s office in Garapan from burning last Sept 10. (Jacqueline Hernandez) An insurance company commended the Department of Public Safety’s firefighters yesterday for their quick response that saved the company’s office in Garapan from burning.

Maggie S. George, general manager of the Associated Insurance Underwriters of the Pacific, offered gifts—two baskets filled with assorted fruits, five cases of mineral water, and pumpkin cakes—to the firefighters at the Garapan Fire Station.

George said the gifts are only a small token in expressing the company’s appreciation for the firefighters’ hard work and dedication to their job.

“Associated Insurance management and staff would like to thank each one of them for their hard work and effort in putting down the fire,” she said.

The AIUP general manager said that, due to the firefighters’ quick response, the company’s building and its contents were saved from the flames.

Although the office sustained smoke damage, not a single paper or document was burned, she added.

“It’s a sign that they [firemen] are very responsible. It’s an example of how well trained they are, how responsible these firemen are on our island,” George said.

The incident was caused by a water dispenser that caught fire due to power fluctuations in the office. The fire happened last Sept. 10, a day after Maggie left for the U.S. mainland.

Maggie also expressed appreciation to their employees—Mary Aaron, Joe Guerrero, Prescilla Sablan, Janet Benavente and former staff Sixto Igisomar. She said these employees, who immediately called her after the incident, ensured that AIUP operations were not jeopardized.

AIUP has been on the island for 26 years now.

DPS Commissioner Rebecca Warfield said this was a good day for DPS.

“This is what DPS is all about—providing service to the community, having them feel protected,” Warfield said. “I’m so proud of the men and women of the Fire [Division]. They’ve done a terrific job.”

Fire Division acting director Tom Manglona said the firefighters’ quick response was the key factor in preventing the blaze from spreading.

Manglona said they are also very fortunate that they have acquired the right equipment with the help of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.

“These are the things we’re trained for,” he said, citing that if the fire had not been extinguished immediately, the surrounding businesses such as Jollibee and Bank Pacific could have been affected.

“It’s a job well done for the guys. We want to improve our service to the community,” Manglona said.

Fire Lt. Jack Quitugua told Saipan Tribune that they had received the report at 2:06pm. When they responded they saw smoke coming from the window of the one-story AIUP building.

“When my guys came in, they did a forced entry [into the building],” Quitugua said. The office was already engulfed in smoke.

Firefighters used extinguishers to put out the flames, while the other firefighters readied their hoses in case the fire spread.

Preliminary investigation indicated that the break room and the accounting office sustained smoke damage. AIUP was closed as it was Sunday when the fire broke out.

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