A 74-YEAR-OLD man succumbed to burns while around 180 families were rendered homeless in a fire that hit Puroks 6A and 6B in sitio Pag-asa, Barangay 5-A, Bankerohan, Davao City on Tuesday, December 5.
One Rodolfo Hidalgo, a resident who is half-paralyzed, was trapped in his house. He was still gasping for breath when rescued by medical personnel but did not survive.
The fire reached Task Force Alpha level, meaning, all fire stations were called on to respond.
The cause of fire is still being determined, Fire Superintendent Honee Fritz Alagano, district fire marshal of the Davao City Fire Department, said.
The first alarm started around 11:40 a.m. and was elevated to Task Force Alpha at 12:25 p.m. as the scorching heat and wind fanned the fire.
Firefighters also found that there was no water in a nearby fire hydrant because the area had water supply interruptions for the past two days.
"In the case of Bankerohan area, two days na walang tubig, magbalik lang pag gabi, so sa umaga, na-consume ang water sa loob ng hydrants (There was no water supply in Bankerohan area for two days already. It will only be available at nighttime thus during the daytime, water stocked in hydrants are consumed)," Senior Fire Officer Ramil Gillado, Davao City Fire District Fire Arson Investigator, said.
The fire was declared under control at 1:35 p.m.
The fire allegedly started at the residence of the Labra Family but authorities have yet to verify the report.
The victims are temporarily staying at the barangay gym that serves as evacuation area while some stayed with relatives.
The firefighters had difficulty in putting out the fire because of the narrow alleys. They had to connect several hoses in order to reach the area.
The Philippine National Police (PNP) also assisted in controlling the crowd from going near the area.
Alma Jopia, a resident since 2010, said she only realized that a fire was raging when she heard her neighbors shouting, "Sunog!" She only had time to save her three grandchildren and nothing else as the fire was close by.
The Davao City Social Services and Development Office personnel were still conducting assessment on the number of families who were affected. They also deployed Kusina ng Bayan to provide food assistance to the victims.
Meanwhile, a speeding fire truck from Toril crashed onto a car parked at the corner of San Pedro Extension rendering the fire truck immobile.