Blaze leaves 526 homeless
(The Freeman) - December 26, 2015 - 9:00am

CEBU, Philippines – It’s going to be a grim new year for at least 526 residents (124 families) of Sitio Avocado, Lahug, Cebu City when a fire razed their houses dinnertime last night.

At least 55 houses were affected by the fire. No one died from the fire but two were reported to have been brought to the hospital due to asthma attack and hypertension.

 The community was celebrating the feast of its patron saint, Sagrada Familia, when the fire broke at the house of one Rosemarie Villarin.

Formal probe is ongoing but Villarin, 46, told investigators her house did not have electricity at that time so she lighted a candle while she was folding clothes. She had to leave her spot, however, when she had to fix her grandchild a bottle of milk when the child cried. When she returned, the clothes had already caught fire.

Because many of the houses in the neighborhood were made of light materials, the fire spread quickly.

Firefighters received the alarm at 6:22 p.m. and placed the fire under control about an hour later.

The alarm last night was raised to Task Force Bravo, which meant neighboring cities and towns helped respond to the alarm. Damage was estimated at P1 million.

Sitio Avocado is located right across the Lahug Barangay Hall along Gorordo Avenue, a major thoroughfare uptown. A portion of the road had to be closed to vehicle traffic when firefighters were at the scene.

Survivors will be housed temporarily at the barangay sports complex and the Lahug Elementary School nearby.

Vice Mayor Edgar Labella urged the barangay council to hold an emergency session so that the barangay can be placed under a state of calamity. Doing so would allow the barangay to utilize calamity funds that can be used to help the victims.

The city’s Department of Social Welfare Services (DSWS) has provided the victims food, as well as basic necessities such as sleeping mats, blankets, and clean water.

The city also plans of reblocking the area, considering that firefighters had a difficult time penetrating it owing to very narrow passageways. Water had to be sprayed from the main road. —/JMO (FREEMAN)

CEBU CITY DEPARTMENT OF SOCIAL WELFARE SERVICES FIRE GORORDO AVENUE LAHUG BARANGAY HALL LAHUG ELEMENTARY SCHOOL ROSEMARIE VILLARIN SAGRADA FAMILIA SITIO AVOCADO TASK FORCE BRAVO VICE MAYOR EDGAR LABELLA
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