Firefighters clad in their protective gear were seen battling the fire that had engulfed several homes made of light materials in Purok Bagong Silang II, Brgy. San Miguel, Puerto Princesa City on April 14. The acrid smell of smoke hung heavy in the air as the firefighters worked to extinguish the remaining embers. | Photo by Mike Mopal

The fire that broke out Friday afternoon in Purok Bagong Silang II, Brgy. San Miguel in Puerto Princesa City displaced 17 families.

The source of the fire was reportedly a house owned by Mart Joy Angad, which was unoccupied at the time of the incident. Residents in the area believed that it was caused by a power surge when electricity was restored after an outage, as they heard an explosion or burst from Angad’s house before the fire spread to nearby homes.

“Pagbalik ng kuryente—mga alas tres na yon—nagmemeryenda kami tapos sabi may sunog doon. Nagbuhos buhos ng tubig pero di kaya ng tubig. Sa loob ng bahay nag-umpisa. Yon nga po, may pumutok (When the electricity came back around three o’clock, we were having our afternoon snack when someone said there was a fire there. We tried pouring water, but it wasn’t enough. The fire started inside the house. Yes, there was an explosion),” an elderly female resident said.

Senior Fire Officer I Mark Llacuna, spokesperson for the Bureau of Fire Protection (BFP), said that the fire started around 2:30 p.m. and was controlled by 4:40 p.m., with total fire-out declared at 5:25 p.m.

Based on the initial report, 15 houses were burned, with 14 of them suffering total damage and one partially damaged. The house where the fire originated has been cordoned off for further investigation.

The estimated initial damage, according to SFO1 Llacuna, is around P300,000. (R. Luzares)