Fire gobbles 150 houses

AT least 150 families lost their homes when a fire destroyed more than 100 houses at Sitio Alliance of Two Hearts in Barangay Basak, Mandaue City past 10 a.m. yesterday.

Four people were hurt while saving their belongings in haste. One stepped on broken glass, three got bitten by dogs.Damage was pegged at P500,000.

The Mandaue City Fire Station (MCFS) received at 10:25 a.m. a report from a concerned citizen that flames were seen in one of the houses.

FO2 Antonio Montajes, fire investigator of MCFS, said firemen controlled the fire in 30 minutes.

Montajes said that more than 100 houses were destroyed. As the fire was raised to Task Force Alpha, firefighters from other areas responded to the alarm as well.

“The houses were made of light materials, so the fire spread rapidly. Aside from this, the road going to the sitio is narrow,” he said.

The sitio is about 100 meters away from the highway.

According to the initial investigation, the fire started in the house of Conchita Hontilla.

Montajes said two children were seen setting something on fire. The fire department has yet to determine how and where exactly the fire started.

The family of Juliana Cabatingan, 56, is one of the 150 families left homeless yesterday.

She was able to save an icon of the Virgin Mary and a Holy Cross that she bought early this month, but not her clothes and other valuables.

When the fire spread to the other houses, Cabatingan was in Barangay Canduman, where she works as a house helper.

She received a call from her niece informing her that flames were seen near their house.

Pag-abot nako sunog na. Nag-siga-siga na ang kisame (When I arrived in our sitio, our house was not spared. The fire had reached our ceiling),” Cabatingan said.

Cabatingan sobbed while clutching the icon of the Virgin Mary and the Holy Cross.

Beside her were the items that her relatives had saved, including a television set, a chair, a bike, two gallons of water and a few shirts.

Montajes said a resident, Maki Mañacap, was injured after he stepped on a broken bottle when he and his neighbors ran to safety when the fire started.

Three persons were also reportedly bitten by a dog while they were transferring their things to an area away from the fire.

Basak Barangay Captain Felipe Diano said the first thing that they will do is provide the families with food.

The Barangay Council will convene to decide where to temporarily house the families. Basak does not have a barangay gym.

Diano said they might place tents near the fire site for the families.

He said the lot where the houses used to stand is owned by various individuals. Part of the lot is owned by the Cortes family.

There was no threat that the families could no longer rebuild their houses in the area, he said.

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