9 fires break out in Metro Manila, Tacloban on New Year
(The Philippine Star) - January 1, 2016 - 9:00am

MANILA, Philippines – A huge fire engulfed a residential community in Tondo, Manila while eight other fires occurred in different places in the country during the first nine hours of the New Year.

Around 3 a.m., a boy was playing with watusi in Raxa Bago in Tondo when the firecracker hit an unoccupied house, causing a fire that quickly spread to nearby houses, according to the Bureau of Fire Protection (BFP).

The fire reached general alarm and razed at least 1,000 houses, mostly shanties made of light materials.

It also hit the barangay hall and crossed M. Dizon and Laon Nasa streets and Dagupan extension, burning for more than three hours before it was put under control at 6 a.m.

Danilo Francisco, 40, died of suffocation while  getting water from his burning bathroom to help put out the fire.

An unidentified minor  also died in the fire, along with 65-year-old Erlinda Benedicto, a former barangay kagawad, who suffered a heart attack when the fire broke out.

Injured in the Tondo fire were Wilmer Liwanag, 22, who remains unconscious; Adamson Laor Dauz, 25; Alex Valdez, 18; and Dennis Penaflor, a volunteer fireman.

BFP director Chief Supt. Ariel Barayuga personally oversaw the fire fighting effort in Manila.

In Valenzuela City, a fire of  undetermined origin razed an old warehouse in Dalandanan at around 6:35 a.m. and affected seven families.

In Quezon City, a lighted candle left unattended and faulty electrical wiring caused a fire that razed the houses of 15 families and damaged property worth P200,000 in Barangay Krus Na Ligas on New Year’s Eve. 

The fire started in a one-story house of a certain Pracy Sabangan and reached third alarm, according to fire marshal Jesus Fernandez.

Eight houses were burned before the fire was put out at around 3:07 a.m., he added.

Fire also broke out at the house of  kagawad Jake Fernandez of Barangay E. Rodriguez in Cubao at around 12:05 a.m. yesterday.

Fernandez said the fire started at the second floor of his house and was put out at around 1:03 p.m. after seven fire trucks responded.

No one was injured or killed in the two fires.

In Tacloban City, 65 houses were razed to the ground in a fire on New Year’s Day, affecting around 110 families or 660 individuals.

Many people were injured when they scampered to get out of their burning   houses, according to barangay    chairman Cesar Advincula.

The fire might have started at the two-story house of 60-year old Salvacion Murillo at around 12:15 a.m., he added.

Reports said fire fighters from the towns of Palo, Babatngon, Alangalang, Tanauan and Sta. Fe experienced difficulty putting out the fire due to the row-type houses crowded in the area.

Investigation on the cause of the fire and its estimated damage to property is now underway, the BFP said.

“We have been receiving several accounts from witnesses hinting that the fire might have been caused by a lighted firecracker,” said SF02 Levino Caya of the Tacloban City Bureau of Fire Protection.

Residents were not able to save their belongings from their houses.

They   are now temporarily housed in a church. 

Of the nine recorded fires, three occurred in Metro Manila, according to BFP spokesman Supt. Renato Martcial.

The nine fires  damaged more than P10 million worth of properties,  Marcial said. – Rey Galupo, Cecille Suerte Felipe, Robertzon Ramirez, Ghio Ong, Ricky Bautista

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