2 families left homeless by fire in Mambaling

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Monday, December 23, 2013

THREE days before Christmas, the family of 68-year-old Cesaria Gerado lost their home.

“Mamalit nata mi karon og handa para sa Noche Buena (We’d have been preparing for the Noche Buena now),” she told Sun.Star Cebu yesterday.

The two-story ancestral house her family occupied was destroyed when a fire broke out in Sitio Bayabas, Barangay Mambaling, Cebu City last Sunday night. Her neighbor was also not spared.

No one hurt

Despite this, Gerado was grateful. “Pasalamat ra gyud ko kay walay naunsa sa amoa (I’m thankful no one was harmed),” she said.

She could have died if not for her son, who woke her up when flames started to engulf her room.

Gerado recalled she was sleeping on the second floor when fire broke out at the ceiling.

The Cebu City Fire Department received the report at 8:48 p.m. and raised it to first alarm. After 20 minutes, the blaze was controlled.

SFO1 Lowel Opolentisima pegged the damage at P200,000. Electrical misuse was eyed as cause of the incident.

The fire investigator said they didn’t have a hard time penetrating the area because the street was passable.

“Mao wala kadako ang kayo kay napalibutan dayon namo (That’s why the fire didn’t spread because we were able to surround the affected area),” Opolentisima said. A firewall also prevented the flames from reaching neighboring houses.

Electrical misuse

The owner of the ancestral house was identified as Epifanio Gerado.

The fire also damaged three vehicles inside a jeepney garage. The two-story house of Eugenio Alegre inside the garage was also destroyed.

During initial investigation, Opolentisima said the fire could be traced to electrical misuse.

He said one of the many factors that contribute to short circuits is old electrical wiring. “Maggamit ug bag-o nga appliances unya tag-as ang voltage.

Mao ng mag-overheat (People buy new appliances with high voltage. That’s why it overheats),” he said.

He also cited octopus electrical connection. “Kung dili sad i-unplug pirmi, mao ng mo-spark (And sometimes when you don’t unplug this causes a spark),” Opolentisima added.

Gerado, when interviewed at the fire site, said they lost all their belongings and cash in the fire.

“Wala gyud mi karon tanan. Challenge siguro ni namo karon (It’ll be a big challenge since we don’t have anything),” she said.

She said a family friend offered to let them stay at his house, which she considered a nice gesture on Christmas.

Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on December 24, 2013.

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