Cebu News

Man helping put out fire gets zapped by live wire

Robhe Jane Yara - The Freeman

CEBU, Philippines — A 21-year-old man who tried to help firefighters died while about P1.5 million worth of property was razed in a fire that broke out in Sitio Cruzan, Barangay Bulacao, Talisay City on Saturday, December 17.

Senior Fire Officer 3 Guiller Pegarido, deputy fire marshall and one of those firefighters who responded to the incident, identified the fatality as Jonard Requilme, a resident of the area.

Pegarido said the victim tried to help firefighters assemble the fire hose when he was electrocuted by one of the live wires hanging in the affected area.

"Wala na namo nabantayi unsay nahitabo," he said, adding that the victim was then rushed to Cebu South Medical Center where he was later declared dead on arrival.

No other injuries were reported.

Pegarido said the blaze was reported to them around 12:18 in the afternoon.

He said the fire easily spread out and was raised to the first alarm four minutes after because some houses affected were made of light materials.

It later progressed to a second alarm around 12:26 and to a third alarm around 12:32, before it was finally declared fire out around 1:28 p.m.

He said one of their challenges in putting out the fire was that the area was congested. He then added that it was also one of the fire-prone areas in Talisay that they continuously monitored.

"Usa ni siya (Sitio Cruzan) sa mga fire prone hazard...gibalikbalikan gyud ni nato assist ang area, then nag-conduct tag lecture, drill sa mga katawhan dinhi. But sad to say, di gyud nato malikayan naa gyuy nahitabo...bag-ohay palang gyud mi ga-lecture diri niadtung niaging semana," said Pegarido.

According to their initial investigation, the fire wiped out at least 20 houses.

Based on the information the BFP gathered from residents, the fire initially started in the interior part of the 1,014-square meter land area.

But Pegarido reiterated that they are yet to identify what caused the fire.

Following the recorded death, Pegarido advised people to refrain from assisting firefighters in responding to emergencies for their own safety.

"Sunod unta og naay ingunani nga panghitabo, ato unta gyung bawalan ang mga civilian sa pagtabang para nalang sad sa ilang safety. Kay ang kambomberuhan maningkamut man gyud mapatay ang kayu arun di na mukatap sa laing balay," said Pegarido.

Meanwhile, Bulacao Barangay Captain Banjo Abastillas said that they still continue counting the total number of families and individuals affected by the fire.

He said that they are already preparing the basic needs of the fire victims such as food, among others.

Abastillas said the barangay is set to give financial assistance to the fire victims, adding that they will also hand P3,000 assistance to the family of Requilme.

The victims are currently housed at the barangay's gymnasium. —Romeo Marantal (FREEMAN)

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