UP to 80 houses were destroyed by the fire that broke out in Purok Kamunggay, Sitio Libra, Barangay Poblacion, Talisay City, Cebu past 8 a.m. on Wednesday, January 24, 2024.
According to Fire Officer 1 Jerome Dolauta, the fire investigator of the Talisay City Fire Office (TCFO), they received the fire alarm at 8:10 a.m. and they raised it to the first alarm at 8:12 a.m.
Due to the intensity of the fire that had already consumed several houses made of light materials, they sounded the second and third alarms at 8:18 a.m. and 8:23 a.m., respectively.
This prompted the firefighters in Metro Cebu, including those in the cities of Cebu, Mandaue and Lapu-Lapu, to respond.
The fire was placed under control at 9:12 a.m. and eight minutes later, it was deemed extinguished.
According to the TCFO, over a hundred families were affected by the fire, which caused around P3 million in damage.
Elmer Labrador refuted the initial reports that said his house was the source of the fire.
According to Labrador, he made sure that before they left, all of the appliances were turned off and that no food was cooked.
"Ang ilang giingon nga niulbo kuno nga wala man koy giluto diha nga koan unya mao pasad ang paglakaw naku, ang akung asawa naa sad gilakaw," Labrador said.
(They said the fire broke out (in my house) even though I hadn’t cooked, and that I and my wife had just departed).
Rosalito Quijano, one of the fire victims, alleged that the fire originated from the home of his neighbor, Oliver Rodriguez.
He claimed that his wife was the first to notice that Rodriguez's house was on fire.
Quijano added that although Rodriguez's home had been hit by the fire five times, this was the first time the fire had spread to nearby residences.
In previous incidents, Rodriguez's children were allegedly playing with matches and lighters and setting things on fire inside their house.
"Pag gawas nako sir gikan ko sa amoa kay natulog ko nakita nako ang kayo nga gikan sa ilahang Oliver nga nagsugod sa second floor. Ako na na gibadlong kay ikalima naman na nasunog ang ilang balay og karon daghan na gyud ang naamong," Quijano said.
(When I went out of the house sir after waking up, I noticed that the second floor of Oliver’s house was on fire. Since it was the fifth time, and many houses were impacted this time, I reprimanded him).
Quijano, however, expressed dismay that the firemen took a little while to respond even though the fire station is just a stone throw away because they were passing through the back instead of through the Larawan beach.
Dolauta disclosed that in order to conduct an inquiry, they want to call the owners of the two houses where the fire is said to have originated.
The TCFO's fire marshal, lawyer Alvin Torsion, stated that while they could access the road, they did not perceive any issues with it; rather, they considered the wind speed to be an issue.
"The wind is really strong," Torsion remarked.
The families affected by the fire are temporarily housed at the city’s gymnasium and are being taken care of by the city’s Social Welfare and Services personnel. (With TPT)