FIRE razed at least 70 houses in Sitio Lower Ponce in Barangay Capitol Site, Cebu City last night.

The initial estimated damage to property reached P500,000 as of 9 p.m. but may still rise.

No one was reported hurt.

One theory is that the fire started on the second floor of a house owned by the family of Daisy Talaugon. A faulty circuit breaker is believed to have caused the fire, which easily spread to other houses, most of these made of wood.

Firefighters struggled to penetrate the sitio, about 70 meters from the main road.

FO1 Grace Colina, radio operator of the Cebu City Fire Station, said they received the alarm at 6:46 p.m.

Before the blaze started, Talaugon told investigators, she went up to the second floor to help her two grandchildren change clothes.

She screamed when she noticed the flames from the circuit breaker.

They ran, including Talaugon’s five children, outside the house. Their clothes and appliances were lost in the fire.

Colina said the alarm was raised to Task Force Alpha, which meant firefighters from the cities of Mandaue, Talisay, Lapu-Lapu and Consolacion were tapped to help them.

Volunteer firefighters also rushed to the sitio, she added.

After more than an hour, firefighters contained the flames and kept these from spreading to other houses in the neighborhood at 8:14 p.m.

Jason Almendras, Capitol Site tanod, said in a separate phone interview that the families were placed in the barangay’s basketball court.