31 houses destroyed in Tejero

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Tuesday, August 19, 2014


THIRTY-ONE houses were destroyed in a morning fire in Villagonzalo 1, Barangay Tejero, Cebu City yesterday.

The fire alarm was received by the Cebu City Fire Office at 5:10 a.m. and firefighters declared the blaze under control after 25 minutes.

Firefighters estimated the damage at P150,000 worth of properties.

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The fire reportedly started in the house of one Reynaldo Lañas.

City Fire Marshal Rogelio Bongabong said the houses were made of light materials, allowing a quick spread to the neighboring houses.

He said an unattended candle may have caused the fire.

The fire was raised to Task Force Alpha, which meant that all Cebu City fire trucks and neighboring cities responded to the alarm.

Funds access

Tejero Barangay Councilor Garry Lao said they declared a state of calamity for them to release funds to help the fire victims.

The declaration will allow the barangay to use its P119,000 remaining calamity fund.
About 40 individuals or 25 families were left homeless.

The fire victims were supposed to be housed at the Barangay Tejero sports gym, which is about six blocks from the fire scene, but the victims opted to stay near their burned houses.

Meals were shouldered by the Department of Social Welfare and Services.

Zeny Ondog, 31, one of the fire victims, said she woke up and saw thick smoke coming outside.

“Pagtan-aw nako, nakurat na lang ko kay ang balay sa among silingan nasunog na. Abi nako ug gadamgo ko (I was shocked to see our neighbor’s house in flames. I thought I was dreaming),” said Ondog.

She said she called her husband and three kids and went outside.

She saved a few clothes and some important documents.

Bongabong said they will still have to investigate the cause of the fire.

He said the house of Lañas, where the fire allegedly started, was reportedly made of light materials and the household had no electricity.

“Basin ang kandila na ilang gigamit natumba nga maoy hinungdan sa pagkasunog (Maybe it was a fallen candle that caused the fire),” the city fire marshal added.

No one was hurt or killed.

Since 2011, yesterday’s fire was the fifth to hit Barangay Tejero. The biggest was in July 2011 when a thousand individuals from three sitios in Barangay Tejero were left homeless in an afternoon fire.

Help

Meanwhile, the Department of Social Welfare and Services (DSWS) distributed food packs to fire survivors.

As a standard procedure, the City will shoulder the meals for three days.

Records from DSWS and the barangay showed that the fire displaced 84 families or 278 individuals, while 31 houses were destroyed.

Lao said families were told to temporarily stay at the gym, although some chose to stay close to their destroyed houses.

Lao said they will provide and distribute goods to the families since the City Government will distribute construction materials for families to rebuild their structures.

Lao said the barangay officials again reminded the residents to avoid illegal wire-tapping.

“This serves as a message to all of them that illegal tapping will just bring harm to them,” Lao said.

Two weeks ago, Lao added, the Visayan Electric Company (Veco) surveyed the area and cut illegal connections.

Out of the close to 100 residents, only three have electric meters, Lao said.

Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on August 20, 2014.

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