PARANAS, Samar -- At least 19 houses were gutted in a predawn fire that broke out in a residential area at Zone 1 in this town in Samar province Sunday morning.
The blaze started before 2:30 a.m. and was declared out around 5:20 a.m.
Many of the houses destroyed were made up of light materials.
Bureau of Fire Protection Samar Fire Officer Rodrigo Almaden said the damage to property reached around P15 million. Four people were injured.
The injured victims were identified as certain Jose "Pepe" Babali, 71; Alexander Dabuet, 35; Yoyong Mabulay, 30; and Abraham Balagon, 50. They sustained minor injuries.
Mayor Eunice Babalcon expressed sympathy to the victims and ordered the immediate delivery of assistance to them.
“But we thank God that no harm was met by any of the residents and the responders. Nakikiduyog ako han mga pamilya nga naapektuhan,” she said in a message posted on her Facebook account.
“We shall rise from the ashes that the fire brought to our homes. Ayaw la kita kahulop mga igkasi ko Paranasnon,” she added.
Messages asking for help also went viral on social media after the fire. The messages were sent by the victims' neighbors and relatives abroad.
Babalcon said a private group called An Paranasnon Inc. in Manila donated at least P15,000 for the fire victims.
She said the local government also allotted more than P840,000 for the victims of the blaze.
“A total of P25,000 was given to the victims with totally damaged houses while P5,000 for those houses were partially damaged,” she said.
Provincial Board Member Alvin Abejuela immediately responded to the call for help.
He said he immediately formed a volunteer team that repacked kilos of rice, noodles, canned goods, pales, and other basic necessities.
The Philippine Red Cross and the Alert Philippines also extended assistance.
Reports said Samar Governor Sharee Ann Tan, upon learning of the incident, also allotted cash assistance to the fire victims in Paranas.
As of Thursday, some groups are mobilizing efforts to solicit more help to aid the victims of the fire, which was considered the first biggest fire in town. (Sunnex)