16 hurt as fire gobbles 29 houses

Firefighters respond to a residential fire that razed 29 houses in Barangay 7, Bacolod City Thursday. (Photo courtesy of Chamber Volunteer Fire Brigade)

By Glazyl Y. Masculino

BACOLOD City – Sixteen persons suffered minor injuries after a fire razed at least 29 houses at Purok Magnolia, Barangay 7 here late Thursday night.

Based on the data at the evacuation center, 26 houses were destroyed while three others were damaged in a fire that broke out around 11 p.m.

The blaze also affected 66 families, including five sharers and 32 renters who are temporarily sheltered at the barangay’s daycare center.

Based on the initial investigation of the Bureau of Fire Protection (BFP)-Bacolod, the fire reportedly started from the house of a certain “Richard Benjamen” and spread to other neighboring houses.

The fire grew bigger and it was raised to third alarm. BFP personnel had difficulty penetrating the area because of narrow passageways.

The fire was declared under control by 12:21 a.m. of July 7 and was declared fire out at 1:36 a.m.

The fire left an estimated P350,000 worth of damage, affecting a floor area of 1000 square meters, based on the BFP operational procedures manual.

Mayor Alfredo “Albee” Benitez also went to the area to monitor the situation and checked on the fire victims.

Benitez met with the BFP, Disaster Risk Reduction and Management (DRRM), and Department of Social Services Development (DSSD) yesterday to discuss some concerns after he saw some lapses during the fire response.

“Nadula-an tubig, diin ma-agi, kag damo pa,” Benitez said, adding that the fire could have been prevented from growing bigger if there were enough preparations.

Arson investigators have yet to determine the cause of fire. The local government has already provided initial support and assistance to the affected families.