BECAUSE of an alleged family fight, a thrown lamp caused a dawn fire that razed 259 houses and displaced 1,090 individuals in Sitio Lutaw-Lutaw in Barangay Tisa and sitios Rosario and Tanjay in Barangay Labangon yesterday.

The fire, which was declared as Task Force Alpha, started at 12:28 a.m. and reportedly came from the house of Narciso Roble.

“We have invited them for questioning because that’s the claim of the residents in the area. A barangay tanod is also securing his safety because his neighbors were reportedly angry at him for what happened,” Cebu City Fire Marshal Rogelio Bongabong Jr. said.

The Bureau of Fire Protection (BFP) 7 are investigating reports that Roble and a family member were allegedly fighting until one of them threw a lamp that caused a blaze.

The houses, which were made of light materials, were easily eaten by the flames as the firefighters had a hard time penetrating the area because of the tight roads and closely-packed houses, Bongabong said.

Damage was pegged at P1.5 million.

Bongabong said that this is the biggest fire that hit Cebu City this year.

The fire was controlled at around 2:33 a.m. and was declared out at 6:58 a.m.

The survivors were temporarily housed at the La Paloma gymnasium and the Labangon gym.

In the latest figures from the Cebu City Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office (CCDRRMO), a total of 146 families were affected in Barangay Tisa while there are 113 in Barangay Labangon as of 10 a.m. yesterday.

Even if their house were razed to the ground, Lilia Vallejos, 50, who had nine persons under her roof thanked God that her family are all accounted for.

“It’s a good thing that no one got hurt,” she said.

Another fire victim, Lot Gonzales, said that he destroyed their gate so that he and his wife can escape safely from the flames.

“If you have extra clothes and building materials lying around in your house, you can help us,” he said.

With just days before the Fire Prevention Month, Bongabong said that different chapels from the 80 barangays in Cebu City will soon receive 800 fire extinguishers from the BFP-7 after lessons of basic fire fighting to prevent the same fire from happening again.

Cash aid

About 300 families will receive within the week P5.2 million worth of financial assistance from the Cebu City Government.

Each family will get 20,000 in cash aid as promised by City to all fire victims starting last year.

“We will give them their financial assistance. We’ll have it processed immediately by the Department of Social Welfare and Services (DSWS),” said Mayor Tomas Osmeña.

Meantime, Osmeña has deployed huge containers in the La Paloma Gym in Tisa and the Labangon Sports Complex to provide potable water for the victims.

The containers were supposed to be delivered to Surigao Province today as part of the City Government’s assistance following the quake two weeks ago.

The Division for the Welfare of the Urban Poor, for its part, is set to validate the owners of the lots hit by the fire to pave the way for a re-blocking scheme.

City Disaster Risk Reduction Management Council Head Nagiel Bañacia said Barangay Tisa Chief Philip Zafra and acting Labangaon Barangay Captain Zenaida Amores will be declaring a state of calamity so that they can use their disaster funds.

“For now, we’re coordinating with the Department of Education 7 so that we can use the Tisa 1 and Labangon Elementary Schools as evacuations centers for the elderly and kids,” Bañacia said.

The City has also started distributing meal packs to the victims. A medical team was also sent to tend to the families.

As of 10:25 a.m. yesterday, the DSWS recorded 113 and 146 displaced families in Labangon and Tisa, respectively.

Meanwhile, an evening fire hit a residential area in Sitio Back Central, Brgy. Cogon Pardo yesterday. Initial reports from the Bureau of Fire Protection (BFP) 7 revealed that at least five houses were razed by the fire which was placed under control at 8:13 p.m.