UPDATED -- JESUS Bucar covered his face and cried while sitting near his neighbor’s statue of the Black Nazarene.
His live-in partner Madel Remedios sat not far from him, wailing while their four-year-old son Jemar embraced her.
Firefighters found the body the couple’s daughter, Jessa Mae Bucar, 6, more than two hours after a fire hit Sitio Nangka, Barangay Ibabao-Estancia and Sitio Sto. Niño, Barangay Guizo in Mandaue City yesterday afternoon.
“Day, nganong imong gibiyaan si Mama (Why did you leave your Mama)?” Remedios cried out.
Some 50 houses in Nangka and five houses in Sto. Niño were razed by the fire. More than 100 families were displaced, authorities said.
Most of the structures were made of light materials. The lot is reportedly owned by the Amigo family, who are said to be in talks to sell the lot to a food processing company.
Narcisa Arcenal, 52, was reported missing by her family to the tanods but her relatives later found her alive.
Mandaue City Fire Marshal Joel Abarquez said they received the alarm at 2:10 p.m.
2 other fires
At 5:15 p.m., another fire hit a house in Barangay Mantuyong, Mandaue City. The flames were put out 10 minutes later.
At 12:10 a.m. yesterday, 17 houses and P160,000 worth of properties were lost to a fire in Purok Bayabas, Barangay Canjulao, Lapu-Lapu City.
The blaze reportedly started in a room of the house owned by Gigi Estrera. Firefighters prevented the flames from damaging other structures some nine minutes after they reached the scene.
In Ibabao-Estancia and Guizo, the firefighters contained the flames and prevented these from spreading to other neighborhoods at 3:15 p.m.
Investigators are looking into the possibility that a faulty electrical connection may have caused the fires in Ibabao-Estancia, Mantuyong and Canjulao.
In Sitio Nangka, the fire reportedly started in the house owned by Visitacion Lucernas.
Lucernas and her son Jonathan were talking inside their house when they noticed the fire on the second floor.
They immediately got out and shouted to alert their neighbors. Lucernas was reportedly rushed to the hospital.
Before the fire broke out, Bucar said he was on the first floor of their house, talking with his partner’s father Miguelito.
Jessa Mae played with her brothers Jemar and James.
Remedios had gone to her workplace in Hilltop Homes, Consolacion to collect her salary.
When he heard his neighbors screaming that the fire was already big, Bucar said he gathered his children and told them to run.
“Posible nga nibalik to siya kay kakita man gyud ko nga nidagan sila (I saw her running with her siblings, but it’s possible she went back),” said Bucar.
He and Miguelito helped put out the fire in Lucernas’s house because they did not want the flames to destroy their house.
Later, Bucar heard a girl crying from the chapel, but it did not cross his mind that the girl could be his daughter.
“Nagtuo na ko nga luwas na siya (I thought she was safe),” he said.
Before Jessa Mae’s remains were found, Remedios was already crying and screaming at Bucar.
“Wala na gyud si Inday ron. Sala gyud ni nimong tanan (Our daughter is gone. This is your fault),” she said. Bucar stood beside her and did not speak a word.
The couple also lost their clothes, appliances and other items to the fire.
Ibabao-Estancia Barangay Captain Carmelino del Mar Jr. said he will convene his council for a special session, so they can release the calamity fund for survivors.
Rep. Gabriel Luis Quisumbing and his party-mates also comforted the victims. He promised to put up tents and provide food for the residents. The lawmaker said he will also extend help to Jessa Mae’s family.
Del Mar said he will speak with the lot owner and find out if the families can still rebuild their houses on the lot.
The Mandaue City Social Welfare and Development Office (CSWDO) prepared packs of relief good for the survivors, while some of their personnel listed the affected families at the fire site.
CSWDO stockroom head Jonathan Perez said the relief packs contained a blanket, mat, basin, bowl, plate, utensils and personal hygiene items like soap and toothpaste.
A second batch of relief items, Perez said, will include cooking pots and water containers.
Supervised by CSWDO chief Violeta Cavada, personnel were getting the exact number of victims yesterday, while Perez readied the relief packs.
Sun.Star Cebu also called up and texted Lapu-Lapu CSWDO head Ermelita Degamo to find out what the City was doing for the fire survivors in Canjulao, but got no response as of press time. (Sunnex)