FERTULINO Bonifacio immediately secured his partner and their three-month-old baby when he saw smoke enter their house while flames slowly ate their neighbors house in Barangay Pusok, Lapu-Lapu City last Monday night.

Bonifacio, 33, was able to get some hanging laundry, but he failed to get the wallet of his partner, Jenalyn Lasparilla, who is the only one working to support their family.

Bonifacio said he doesn’t know how they’ll make ends meet, considering the lost Lasparilla’s wallet to the fire.

“All her important IDs were in there,” he said in Cebuano.

Six-hour fire

Ferdinand Soronio, 27, said he was able to save his motorcycle and important documents, but his family was not able to save their clothes.

Soronio’s eyes were red and swollen from the fire’s smoke and the lack of sleep.

They were among the 312 families that were affected by the fire that struck Sitio Arca (Airport Road Chapel Association), according to Lapu-Lapu City Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office’s data.

It took almost seven hours before the Lapu-Lapu Fire Central District (LFCD) was able to put out the flames that razed 130 houses.

LFCD received a fire alarm at 9:49 p.m. in a residential area in Sitio Arca.

SPO1 Hadji Samonte, LFCD investigator, said the incident was raised to Task Force Charlie at 11:20 p.m..

He said they were able to control the fire 20 minutes later, or at 11:40 p.m.

However, it wasn’t until 4 a.m. yesterday that the fire was considered out.

“The pathway to the fire scene was narrow, which made it difficult for us to get inside the area. The fire also started in the interior portion of the sitio. Strong winds also fanned the flames, which also made it difficult for us to easily put out the fire,” Samonte said in Cebuano.

According to LFCD records, the fire started in the house of Angelita Pasonilao, 36.

Samonte said Pasonilao’s power was cut last Friday.

He believed that the candle Pasonilao was using accidentally fell. Pasonilao suffered burns as she and her children made their escape.

The affected houses were made of concrete and light materials.

No casualty

Samonte said about P1.3 million of properties were destroyed by the fire.

He denied reports that a person had died.

Fire survivors were accommodated at the Pusok Elementary School (PES) and the Pusok National High School (PNHS).

Mayor Paz Radaza declared no classes in all levels at PES yesterday.

Grades 9 and 10 students of the PNHS also did not have classes because their rooms were occupied by fire survivors.

Radaza visited the families in the schools to check their situation.

In a separate interview, Pusok Barangay Captain Caridad Dawat said they have declared the barangay under a state of calamity through a special session of the Barangay Council yesterday morning.

Dawat said they will use the barangay’s calamity fund to buy food and other things needed for the families.

In case there is money left, she said the barangay will use it to buy housing materials.

Several donations have reached the barangay.

Dawat said the families still need toiletries, kitchen utensils, towels and pails, among others.

Those who want to donate may contact the barangays landline number (032) 340-7771.