CEBU CITY -- An 82-year-old woman died Saturday noon in a fire that hit her home and then spread to at least 62 other houses in Lapu-Lapu City.
Investigators have yet to find out what caused the fire.
Chief Inspector Ricardo Cornelio, the fire marshal, said that Joselito Payac identified the charred remains of his mother Cirila, who was living with him in Sitio Sea Breeze, Barangay Pusok.
The community is visible on the right side as one descends the Marcelo Fernan Bridge to approach Mactan. Some of the razed houses used to stand on stilts to stay above seawater.
The flames razed 63 houses, all made of light materials, and only two houses were partially spared, said fire investigator SFO2 Diomed Alburo. An estimated P800,000 worth of property went up in smoke.
Alburo said the fire department will call Joselito Payac and his neighbors to help determine how the fire started.
Joselito said he and his wife, together with their three children, were away during the fire because they had to sell ice candy.
He said he cooked lunch around 10:30 a.m., long before the fire started. He then left to get some water, leaving his mother lying on her bed.
But when he returned, the house was already in flames.
Alburo said the charred remains were found in the room where Joselito left his mother. That’s probably the room where the fire started, Alburo added.
Pusok Barangay Captain Tranquilino Omolon said he is eyeing the Pusok National High School as one of their possible relocation sites.
He also plans to request tents from City Hall, which can be put up at the fire site.
Fire Marshal Cornelio said the fire department received the alarm at 12:15 p.m. and a team had the flames under control six minutes later.
By 1 p.m., firefighters were already putting out the last embers.
A team from Mandaue City and the Emergency Rescue Unit Foundation helped Lapu-Lapu’s firefighters. (OCP/Sun.Star Cebu)