Fire razes 3 homes-A A +A
By JM Agreda
Friday, October 12, 2012
A FIRE broke out in Barangay Marcoville around 11 a.m. of Friday, razing at least five houses and damaging several others.
Baguio Fire Marshall Joe Fernand Bangyod said the fire department received a call around 11:15 a.m. Friday and immediately responded to contain the fire that reached alert level 3 at the Old Philippine National Railways (PNR) Compound.
According to Bangyod, the fire started at the house of a 79-year-old woman and quickly spread through adjacent houses. The old woman’s daughter was also injured in the fire.
The fire chief said that at least three houses were razed while two houses were damaged. The fire was officially declared out at 12:30 p.m.
“We had a hard time reaching the affected houses because the alleys cannot be penetrated by the fire trucks. Thankfully, the management of Victory Liner opened their garage for us to gain access to the affected homes at the end of the alley,” he said.
Bangyod said the affected houses were once part of the Old Staff House of the PNR built in the 1950s and made out of old pine wood and other light materials that are highly combustible.
Initial investigation revealed that the main cause of fire was faulty electrical wiring, as the electrical connection in the first affected house is already several decades old.
Firemen from the La Trinidad and Tuba municipal fire stations, volunteer fire and rescue teams, and water delivery teams also responded to the fire scene.
The fire marshal called on affected residents to cooperate with their office in the investigation as they will issue the corresponding fire clearance certificates. No estimate of damage was given as of press time as affected residents are yet to declare the value of their damaged properties, he added.
He also advised residents not to immediately rebuild in the area while fire investigation is ongoing and the safety of the structures is not ensured.
Meanwhile, Marcoville barangay secretary Agnes Casuga estimated at least 50 people were affected by the fire, attesting more than two families are residing in some houses while others also lease out rooms and bed spaces to student boarders and migrant city employees.
She said some houses, aside from those declared by the fire chief were also partially damaged after firemen watered down their houses to contain the fire.
Paul Chinayog of the Office of Civil Defense said they have designated at least three evacuation areas in coordination with the Office of the City Social Welfare Development. These are at the Marcoville barangay hall, Marcoville barangay day care center, and the DPS compound gym.
He said the OCSWADO also gave out emergency relief packs to affected families but stressed donations are still needed by majority of affected families.
Casuga called on concerned groups to assist fire victims that include cooked food, water blankets and clothing.
“Many of the affected people here have no clothes left, especially the boarders who are outside of their boarding houses during the fire,” she said.
Published in the Sun.Star Baguio newspaper on October 13, 2012.