Residents of Barangay Kamputhaw in Cebu City flee from the raging inferno carrying some of their belongings.
Paul Jun E. Rosaroso
Morning fire hits Kamputhaw: 100 houses razed
Rowena D. Capistrano (The Freeman) - December 6, 2018 - 12:00am

CEBU, Philippines — An estimated 100 houses were razed in a fire that hit Purok 3 Upper in Barangay Kamputhaw, Cebu City yesterday morning.

No one was injured in the incident but damage to property was pegged at P1 million.

Most of those affected by the fire were houses made of light materials.

Many of the survivors – 67 families or 252 individuals – were away when the fire broke out that they were not able to save any of their belongings. They returned to the barangay with their homes already in ashes.

Most of them are taking shelter at the barangay gymnasium.

Cebu City fire marshal, Chief Insp. Noel Nelson Ababon, said they received the alarm at 10:20 a.m. and were able to control the fire 10:45 a.m.

Ababon said the location of the houses, which is an interior portion of the barangay, was the major challenge in responding to the fire yesterday, as firefighters needed to connect hoses to reach the fire itself.

Investigation is ongoing to determine the cause of the fire.

One of the survivors, Constancio Gutierrez, said he was inside his house when he heard shouting from outside. When he checked, he saw the wall of the house owned by one Rabby Salapi already up in flames.

Leaving their things behind, his family rushed to bring three children and an elderly out to safety.

Edgardo Magno, a tanod and resident of the barangay for 60 years, said he was awakened with the fire already too big that he and family had no choice but to leave everything behind. He brought with him nothing but a small bag that had his identification card.

He said it was the first time that fire had hit their area.

 Response

Kamputhaw Captain Jessica Cadungog said she will call for an emergency session with the barangay’s officials today to discuss what actions to take.

Genevieve Alcoseba, the chief of the Cebu City Division for the Welfare of the Urban Poor, said the city will ask the University of the Philippines to allow the survivors to rebuild their houses at the same location.

The property is owned by the university.

“Ang purpose nato sa pakigstorya sa UP is that hopefully makabalik gyud og rebuild sa houses kay we don’t want them to be displaced because of disaster. Paninguhaon nato kay labi na walay available relocation site,” she told reporters.

DWUP is validating the number of families actually affected by the fire.

If UP will allow the survivors to return, the city will re-block the area so that more roads will be established for easier access.

“Naay problem gamay but we are in talking terms with UP. Nakahatag man ta og yuta sa UP didto sa SRP. Pinangga man sila sa UP, hopefully, pinangga pod ta nila,” Alcoseba said.

Flora Bartolome, acting head of the city’s Department of Social Welfare Services, said the city will provide the survivors packed meals for three days. The city will also provide them housing materials and family kits.

The office will also start processing the P20,000 financial assistance for the survivors. (FREEMAN)

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