Flames destroy 6 public classrooms in Pinamungahan, 14 houses in Guadalupe compound-A A +A
Monday, September 23, 2013
A FIRE broke out in a school in Barangay Poblacion, Pinamungahan, Cebu yesterday afternoon, destroying six classrooms and burning the pupils’ books.
About 12 hours before that, another fire burned 14 houses, injured two senior citizens and left 92 persons homeless in Barangay Guadalupe, Cebu City.
In Pinamungahan, PO3 Delbert Barrera said the police station received the alarm past 12 p.m. yesterday when one of the rooms of Pinamungahan Central School caught fire.
He said the firefighters had a hard time penetrating the area because the fire scene is located 300 meters from the school gate.
“Nilipot na lang sila sa likod unya giligsan na lang ang mga saging (They went to the back of the school and drove over the banana plants),” Barrera told Sun.Star Cebu.
A strong wind also fanned the flames, which snaked into the neighboring classrooms. No one got injured.
The destroyed classrooms were the ones used by Grade 1 and 2 pupils.
Barrera said that the school janitor told authorities he turned off the main circuit
breaker, dispelling rumors the fire may have started because of electrical misuse.
Barrera said they are not yet ruling out the possibility that the fire may have been started intentionally, pointing out that the back of the school was open to anyone.
Barrera said the fire department placed the damage at P50,000 but has yet to interview more witnesses who may help shed light on the incident.
In the Guadalupe fire, at least 14 houses were destroyed in Sitio Cabajar last Saturday night.
The fire, classified as a Task Force Alpha incident, left 24 families or 92 individuals homeless and took away some P250,000 worth of property.
Eugenio Banaay, 72, and his wife Rosario, 64, suffered minor injuries after jumping from a fence while trying to escape from the fire.
The Bureau of Fire and Protection (BFP) 7 received the alarm at 11:45 p.m. and declared the fire under control at 12:14 a.m.
SFO2 Emiliano Daño, BFP 7 fire investigator, said the narrow road made it difficult for the fire trucks to reach the compound where the fire broke out.
The burned houses were made of concrete and light materials and located in an interior portion. Firefighters needed to connect the hoses just to reach the area.
The fire reportedly started in the house owned by Reynante Lowang, 37.
In an interview, Lowang said they were having a videoke session at home when they heard pops and sparks.
“Gakanta-kanta mi sa ubos sa among balay unya nakadugog mi ug piti-piti. Wala ra to namo pansina hangtod ni sagunson ug pag ikalima na piti nikayo na dayon (We were singing when we heard the sound. We didn’t pay attention to it at first, but by the fifth spark, the fire started),” narrated Lowang.
He said it was a windy night and the flames quickly spread to the neighboring houses.
Lowang woke up his 16-year-old daughter, who was sleeping on the second floor.
Eugenio, the 72-year-old man who suffered injuries, said he was sleeping in their room when he heard their neighbors yelling about the fire.
He saw the flames quickly spreading around his house. He woke up his wife, Rosario, and they rushed outside.
“Hapit nami ma trap, mao tong nikatkat na lang mi sa koral (We were about to get trapped, so we climbed over the fence and jumped),” said Eugenio.
The couple sustained bruises because of the barbed wires above the fence.
Eugenio also suffered minor burns on his arms and was treated by the Emergency Rescue Unit Foundation.
The couple, who shared their home with one household helper, failed to save any of their belongings.
Guadalupe Barangay Captain Michael Gacasan, in an interview with Sun.Star Cebu, said the officials will declare a state of calamity today for them to release the calamity funds as aid for the survivors.
Food for three days was provided by the Department of Social Welfare and Services of the Cebu City Government.
Gacasan said the officials offered the barangay complex as temporary shelter for the survivors but most of them opted to stay at the fire scene since the complex is far from the area.
Gacasan said they had to borrow tents to serve as temporary shelter.
Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on September 23, 2013.