ROSENDO Abella ran out of the barangay hall of Labangon, Cebu City as soon as he heard the firetrucks’ sirens yesterday morning.
When he got outside, he saw thick black smoke coming from the direction where his house in Sitio Bugnay 1 is located.
The 60-year-old driver of Labangon Barangay Captain Vic Buendia rushed to his house and discovered the second floor was in flames.
He was relieved when he learned that his 61-year-old sister Lucia, who is deaf, was safe, including their four pet dogs: five-month-old Linaw and Botsoy, Saddam and Jana, who are all five years old.
Abella’s house was also struck by hire in 2011.
In that incident, the fire originated in the house of Susan Caballero, a vendor at the Carbon Public Market.
Caballero’s house was also affected by yesterday’s fire, which reportedly started in the house of her neighbor Concepcion “Shawny” de los Reyes.
SF04 Jovito Abelgas, investigator, said the fire destroyed four houses and damaged three others.
He pegged the damage at P200,000.
An overheated cell phone charger may have caused the fire.
“Dili ko motubag ana. Wala ko mag-charge (I had nothing to do with that. I didn’t charge my phone),” said Concepcion’s husband Goodie when asked by reporters.
The Cebu City Fire Station received the alarm at 9:44 a.m. and firefighters contained the flames 18 minutes later.
The City Government will give financial and emergency assistance to fire survivors.
Acting Mayor Margarita Osmeña, in a news conference, said included in the emergency assistance are meals for the survivors.
The City has designated the old multi-purpose building in the barangay as a temporary relocation site.
“They’re coordinating everything in the old barangay hall in Labangon,” she said.
Earlier at 1:55 a.m., fire damaged a three-story building in Sitio Sta. Ana, also in Labangon.
The fire was placed under control at 2:20 a.m. Damage was pegged at P50,000.
Last Sunday night, Rosalia Ruben Gomez, 74, died after she was burned along with her house near the public market of Alcoy in southern Cebu.
The flames destroyed five other houses and 20 stalls in the market.
Investigators estimated the damage at P500,000.
Gomez was reportedly alone when the fire broke out. Witness Helaria Nieves told police that it was possible a cat had bumped the kerosene lamp the victim often used.