By: Glazyl Y. Masculino
BACOLOD City – At least 200 houses were razed by an early morning fire at Purok Cagaycay, Barangay 2, here Monday.
The blaze broke out around 3:49 a.m. at the kitchen of the house owned by Elbert Deo, according to a report from the Bureau of Fire Protection (BFP).
The fire immediately spread to neighboring houses, which were mostly made of light materials, in the coastal area of the said village.
Arson investigators had difficulty penetrating the area because of narrow passageways. Most of the houses are also situated near the sea.
It took four hours for the fire-fighters to quell the blaze at around 8:20 a.m.
No injuries were reported.
But Deo was allegedly mauled by some residents who blamed him for the fire.
Their neighbours got irked when he and his wife argued with them. The Deos denied the allegation.
The BFP is still investigating deeper into the cause of fire which damaged more or less P500,000 worth of properties.
Meanwhile, Pacita Tero, head of Department of Social Services and Development (DSSD), said the fire affected 232 families, including renters.
“The number of affected families will still increase as we continue to conduct revalidation on the number of affected houses,” Tero added.
Tero said 80 families are temporarily sheltered at Andres Bonifacio Elementary School (Abes)-II while other families opted to stay at the barangay hall or with their relatives.
Tero said food packs and folding beds were already provided for the fire victims.
“We are still finalizing the data to check if there are still other fire victims who were not included in the list to be given assistance,” she said.
The DSSD head said the city government of Bacolod will provide financial assistance of P10,000 and P5,000 to families whose houses were destroyed and partially damaged by the fire, respectively.
On the other hand, the BFP also responded to another fire call at SM Hypermart at Barangay Handumanan yesterday.
BFP reported that the fire started from the supermarket’s warehouse.
Fire-fighters also had difficulty entering the building because of smoke and the distance of the warehouse from the entrance of the building.
It took them more than 10 hours to put the fire under control.
As of 3 p.m. Monday, the BFP has yet to declare a “fire out.”
Arson investigators have yet to determine the cause of fire. No injuries were reported.