Fire kicks out 70 families

09/19/2010 - A FIRE that broke out before lunch yesterday left at least 70 families homeless and injured two men in Barangay Guadalupe, Cebu City.


It was the second time since 2008 that a fire hit the community, whose members occupy a privately-owned land.


It took firefighters half an hour to get the flames under control, but since most of the houses were made of light materials, many of them were lost.


One of the fire victims, Leah Jane Quartero, escaped injury when she ran out of their house barefoot, wearing a shirt marked “I’m a Cinderella girl.”


She lost no glass shoes, but her family was among those displaced when the fire gutted at least 50 houses in Kanaas-Riverside, Banawa.


Fire investigator SFO2 Antonio Gonzales estimated that P800,000 worth of property were destroyed.


Two men required treatment by an Emergency Rescue Unit Foundation team.


Glecerio Taladro, 65, suffered first-degree burns in the right hand and a minor wound in the right leg after he went back to his burning house to get his money.


Exiquiel Misteryo suffered second-degree burns.


The Cebu City Fire Department received the alarm at 11:12 a.m. At least eight fire trucks responded, with the team from Guadalupe reaching the scene first.


The firefighters put out the fire 30 minutes later, despite the narrow road going to the interior portion.


SFO2 Gonzalez could not say yet what caused the fire, pending an investigation.


Esperanza, Quartero’s mother, said the fire started on the second floor of one house, whose owner was not around when the fire broke out.


“Paggawas nako nakita nako nga nigawas ang aso sa bintana (When I went out, I saw smoke coming out through the window),” she said.


In her panic, her daughter forgot to wear slippers when she escaped through a creek.


Leah later told Esperanza she wanted her slippers back. But Esperanza did not allow her daughter to go back to their house because she was sure the slippers were long gone, along with the roosters and pigs they raised.


Gordiana Obielo cried for her two purchase order (PO) cards and P400 cash she thought were burned along with her house. Later, she found one of the cards, saved by a wet blanket, amid the debris.


“Inutang ni para ipangompra ta, para konsumo namo (We got the cards on credit, to buy food),” she said.


Rosalinda Ledama, secretary of the Kanaas Banawa Homeowners’ Association, said a fire also hit the place on Jan. 16, 2008.


After the incident, the residents were told to leave the privately-owned property, Ledama said.


But that order was put on hold after Guadalupe Barangay Capt. Eugenio Faelnar intervened.


“Gihangyo nako nga paestaron sa sila diha mintras wa pay relocation site (I asked the lot owner to let the residents stay while there was no relocation site yet),” Faelnar told Sun.Star Cebu by phone.


He said there are about 70 families affected by the fire. At 2:30 p.m., he convened the council for a special session.


They immediately declared the area under a state of calamity. Faelnar said they are planning to give financial assistance of P2,500 to each family.


For this year, Guadalupe has P900,000 in its calamity fund, he said.


Tents were put up on a basketball court to temporarily shelter the fire victims.


The victims, especially the children, were served “pospas” (rice porridge with chicken) yesterday.


“Mogasto mi kutob sa magasto. Obligado ming motabang (We will spend money for them as long as we can. We are obligated to help them),” Faelnar said (Sun Star)

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