ABOUT 600 houses were destroyed, displacing some 4,000 individuals in an afternoon fire that broke out in Sitio Sta. Maria in Barangay Pusok, Lapu-Lapu City Tuesday, Dec. 12, 2023.
In a Facebook Live video, Lapu-Lapu City Mayor Junard “Ahong” Chan said the blaze, which had already crossed to the neighboring Sitio Seaside, had already been raised to its fourth alarm as of 3 p.m.
Authorities had yet to determine the cause of the fire and if there were casualties.
Chan said he had already coordinated with the city’s disaster risk reduction and management office, Bureau of Fire Protection, and other law enforcement agencies, including the Lapu-Lapu City Police Office (LCPO) and the Philippine Coast Guard, for an emergency meeting to formulate immediate measures to prevent the fire from crossing to other areas, particularly under the Marcelo Fernan Bridge, which he said is the site of houses made of light materials.
This, as the fire continued to ravage Sitios Sta. Maria and Seaside in the afternoon.
Chan also announced that he would cancel the City government’s Christmas party and instead use the money for the fire victims.
Meanwhile, a utility clerk died and 15 other people sustained burns during a fire that hit the old Municipal Trial Court (MTC) building in Minglanilla town in southern Cebu on Tuesday, Dec. 12.
Minglanilla Mayor Rajiv Enad ordered a thorough investigation to determine if somebody was responsible for it.
Glenn Antigua, head of the Minglanilla Traffic Command, said the fire broke out inside the office of Judge Wilson Ibones who, at the time, was performing a marriage ceremony for a foreign national and his Filipina wife.
The fire broke out at noon and was upgraded to the third alarm at 12:20 p.m. It was extinguished after 35 minutes.
The old MTC building is occupied by the Municipal Social Welfare and Development Office (MSWDO), Local Youth Development Office, Department of the Interior and Local Government, Municipal Tourism Office (MTO), Senior Citizens Office, Municipal Environment and Natural Resources Office and Philippine Post.
Firefighters said the fire, which caused P6,816,000 in property damage, also damaged the offices of Philpost, MTO and MSWDO.
Enad called for an emergency meeting with the department heads and municipal councilors to discuss the next steps to be taken in the wake of the fire.
Enad promised to extend help to the fire victims.