Iloilo City fire razes 44 houses

A fire that erupted in two boundary villages in Iloilo City early Monday, June 17, destroyed 44 houses and displaced 84 families. (Photo courtesy of MORE Power)

By Jennifer P. Rendon and Rjay Zuriaga Castor

An early morning fire roused scores of families in two heavily populated villages in the City Proper district, Iloilo City.

The fire, reported at 2:10 a.m. on June 17, reduced to ashes 32 houses and partially destroyed 12 others in barangays Tanza Bonifacio and Rizal Estanzuela.

Records from the Bureau of Fire Protection – Iloilo City showed that 28 houses were totally burned, and three were partially damaged in Tanza Bonifacio. Meanwhile, Rizal Estanzuela logged four totally razed and nine partially destroyed houses.

Fire Superintendent Melanie Habawel, BFP-Iloilo City fire marshal, said 84 families—60 in Tanza Bonifacio and 24 in Rizal Estanzuela—were affected by the fire. The fire reached the fourth alarm and was contained around 4:37 a.m. No casualties were reported.

A 27-year-old man was injured after falling from his house’s second floor but did not incur serious injuries and was treated on-site.

Initial investigation indicated that an unattended lighted candle triggered the fire. A nine-year-old boy from Tanza Bonifacio reportedly lit the candle and placed it on top of a plastic bowl. According to his mother, Luisa, the boy went to sleep without putting out the candle. She explained that their electricity had been disconnected the previous day after they failed to pay their bill.

Luisa asked for understanding, claiming that what happened was an accident and that her son was traumatized. The BFP estimated the property damage at P677,250.

Rizal Elementary School and Rizal Estanzuela Hall were activated as evacuation centers for the displaced families, according to the City Social Welfare and Development Office (CSWDO).

To address the medical needs of the victims, the City Health Office distributed tetanus toxoids and attended to health concerns such as abrasions, puncture wounds, dizziness, and elevated blood pressure.

The local government has already extended relief goods, including food packs, water containers, hot meals, and folding beds, to the victims.

“The CSWDO has started giving relief goods—both food and non-food items. Community kitchens have also been set up. The Department of Social Welfare and Development has also provided food packs. Additional assistance will be provided to the victims by the city,” said Mayor Jerry Treñas.

According to CSWDO head Terry Gelogo, families with totally damaged houses will receive P10,000 each, while those with partially damaged houses will receive P7,000, pending the completion of the necessary documentation.

The BFP is still determining the fire’s cause and the total cost of the damage.