A fire lasting over an hour hit the densely populated Quito district in Barangay Bagong Silang Thursday morning, destroying some 79 houses and leaving some 161 families homeless.
C/Insp Nilo Caabay Jr., city fire marshal of the Bureau of Fire Protection, said there was no casualty in the fire that began around 9:15 AM and placed under control at 10:40 AM.
The houses in the seaside village were mostly made out of light materials, resulting in a quick spread of fire. The packed households joined by wooden makeshift bridges in the area made it difficult for fire marshals to move around.
“Light materials ‘yong mga affected na bahay at dikit-dikit ‘yong mga bahay. Sa may dagat na ito banda kaya pagdating natin may mga obstructions tayong na-encounter, gawa ng ang daanan ay makipot, ang dadaanan mo ay kahoy na tulay, then ang accessibility ng ating mga fire trucks ay limited,” Caabay said.
Auxiliary forces augmented the support by sending fire trucks to control the incident which was reportedly declared fire out at about 10:40 a.m.
The Bureau of Fire Protection (BFP) officer said that the cause of fire is yet to be determined as the investigation continues. The initial damage estimate was placed at P200,000.
“Dalawa lang yan—it’s either intentional or accidental. Makakapagsimula na tayong mag-eliminate ng possible na naging dahilan kapag nakapag-establish na tayo ng identified witnesses. Ongoing at naghahanap ng mga testigo ang mga imbestigador natin,” Caabay said.
Richard Ligad, city information officer (CIO), said that the homeless families will be temporarily housed at the Puerto Princesa Pilot Elementary School (PPPES) for the duration of the enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) period.
“Dahil more or less 161 families ang nasunugan at affected at more or less 79 household, agad namang binuo ni mayor [Lucilo Bayron] ang incident team na hahawak dito,” Ligad said.
The incident team headed by City Disaster Risk and Reduction Management Office (CDRRMO) chief Earl Timbancaya, along with the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), were tasked to provide immediate aid and relief to the victims.
“Inatasan na rin ang DSWD para mabigyan sila ng agarang pangangailangan nila para sa araw na ito. Well taken care [of] sila ng ating government ngayon. Sa ngayon nasa barangay sila at inililista ang mga buntis, bata, senior citizens,” he added.