Late night fires in Cebu City leave P9.75M in damages

AFTERMATH. Jennifer Toring, a 47-year-old mother of seven, looks at the remains of what used to be her home in Sitio Kalapukan, Barangay Carreta, Cebu City on Sunday, Jan. 7, 2024. Fire engulged the neighborhood the night before, razing 59 other houses, and leaving 90 families homeless.
AFTERMATH. Jennifer Toring, a 47-year-old mother of seven, looks at the remains of what used to be her home in Sitio Kalapukan, Barangay Carreta, Cebu City on Sunday, Jan. 7, 2024. Fire engulged the neighborhood the night before, razing 59 other houses, and leaving 90 families homeless. AMPER CAMPAÑA

AS MOST people were about to sleep on Saturday night, Jan. 6, 2024, two separate fires broke out in Barangays Carreta and Basak Pardo in Cebu City, damaging P9.75 million worth of properties and forcing 1,000 individuals to flee their homes.

No fatalities were reported, but a woman from Basak Pardo suffered a laceration on her left forehead.

Basak Pardo Barangay Captain Dave Tumulak expressed disappointment over the alleged shortcomings of the previous administration, which led to their calamity fund remaining unreleased by the City’s accounting office, and leaving them solely reliant on City Hall assistance.

“As of now, the barangay cannot provide assistance to the fire victims since the previous administration has unsubmitted documents to the City Government for four years, since 2020, 2021, 2022, and 2023,” he said in Cebuano.

Carreta Fire

Cebu City Fire Office information officer Wendel Villanueva, in a report sent to SunStar Cebu, said fire authorities first responded to the fire in Carreta, which broke out at 9:23 p.m.

The fire scene is near the buildings of the Bureau of Quarantine 7 and the Department of Social Welfare and Development 7.

The fire alarm escalated at 9:26 p.m. and was raised to second alarm at 9:37 p.m. and third alarm 12 minutes later.

Firefighters controlled the fire at 10:30 p.m. and extinguished it at 10:58 p.m.

According to fire authorities, 66 houses were affected by the fire, translating to damage of P4.5 million.

Of the total number of houses affected, 60 were totally burned to ashes.

The destroyed houses were shelters for 90 families, or at least 400 individuals.

No one died or was harmed during the incident.

The cause of the fire is yet to be determined.

Barangay Basak Pardo

Minutes after the Carreta fire was extinguished, another residential area in Sitio Kanipaan in Barangay Basak Pardo was ravaged by fire.

The incident started at 11:33 p.m.

Responders arrived at the scene at 11:44 p.m., raising the second alarm at 11:50 p.m. and the third alarm five minutes past midnight.

The fire was placed under control at 1:54 a.m. and was extinguished five minutes before 4 a.m.

According to the fire office showed, 95 houses were affected of which 90 were destroyed.

Damage estimates were placed at P5.25 million.

Authorities said the blaze affected 120 families, or at least 420 individuals. Although no one died, a woman suffered a laceration on her left forehead.

The cause of the fire is also yet to be determined.

Unreleased funds

Tumulak said their barangay’s budget for this year, including their calamity fund, is still unreleased by the City’s accounting office

“That is why I am very disappointed because if the previous administration had shortcomings, how come it is us, newly elected officials, who will suffer and the whole barangay, especially since there is a calamity,” he added.

He said they have sent a total of four communications to the Office of the Mayor, Commission on Audit, Liga ng mga Barangay, Department of the Interior and Local Government since December, asking for reconsideration.

He also asked the City Government to help resolve the case, adding that for now, they will only rely on assistance coming from the City.

SunStar Cebu has asked for comment from former Basak Pardo Captain Catalina Cabardo but the latter has yet to reply as of press time.

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