AT LEAST 94 persons lost their homes when a fire gutted several houses on Villalon Drive, Barangay Capitol Site, Cebu City Saturday night.
The fire reportedly started inside a radio announcer’s house, an initial investigation from the Cebu City Fire Department showed.
As of 9 p.m. Saturday, April 16, firefighters couldn’t confirm yet how many houses were destroyed or damaged, but the initial count was 11 houses destroyed, with 22 families or 94 individuals left homeless in Sitio Lower Panaghiusa.
In an interview, Cebu City Hall’s Department of Social Welfare and Services (DSWS) chief Ester Concha said the assessment was still ongoing.
Concha went to the fire scene Saturday night to assess the immediate needs of the affected families, like food and water.
Fire Officer 3 Antonio Gonzales said the fire department received the alarm at 6:13 p.m. and firefighters placed it under control, meaning the flames could no longer spread, 39 minutes after or at 6:52 p.m.
It was classified as a first-alarm fire.
As of Saturday night, fire investigators were verifying two reports on how the fire started.
According to the first report, a neighbor of radio announcer Lou Arevalo said he saw sparks from the Lite Ace van owned by the family.
A fire then spread to Arevalo’s house and nearby structures.
But fire investigators are also looking at the possibility that electrical misuse started the fire.
A report over radio DyAB said that Arevalo, his wife and the entire family were all safe.