Soler Volunteer Fire Prevention Center

The year was 1963. The date, March 31 – a Sunday. All was quiet within Arranque Market. Events unfolded swiftly. A fire for cooking the deep-fried pastry locally known as bitso-bitso went out of control. The market sustained heavy damage.

What happened during the fire gave a group of people an insight on how helpless people were during such an incident, the response of fire service and the many other logistics needed. A small group of people in the persons of Vicente S. Tan, Chua Bong, Dy Leng, Celesdenio Chuongco, William To, the late Fernando Chua and a few other people started talks about what could be done to be of assistance in case of a similar fire incident. They started a small informal group for fire watch, fire safety and prevention and many other small activities, until in1965 a major fire almost destroyed Chinatown. The group stepped up their efforts and formalized operations, which included obtaining their first portable fire pump unit which was personally assembled by William To, which was not to the liking of his parents. They felt he spent too much time and effort pursuing his firefighting vocation, and with the pumps came extra hoses, training and organization.

1965 was the year that the group had their first fire truck; in 1969, Soler Volunteer Fire Prevention Center formally came to life, Vicente S. Tan being the first president. The group grew and expanded to what they are today. Soler joined the Federation of volunteer fire brigades in 1972 and supported all the undertakings of the association which has earned their community’s high respect and acceptance for the fearless, unblinking, unconditional assistance they provide.

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