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9 perish in QC fire; 400 families left homeless by Valenzuela blaze

By Francis T. Wakefield and Vanne Elaine Terrazola Nine people, including a two-year-old girl and a seven-year-old boy, died while four others were hurt after a large fire hit an informal settlers’ community in Quezon City (QC) early yesterday morning.

Earlier Thursday night, about 400 families were left homeless when fire razed their houses in Valenzuela City. One fatality was reported in this fire.

QC


Superintendent Jesus Fernandez, Quezon City fire chief, identified the fatalities as Ashley Bulalacao, 2; Juralyn Bulalacao, 25; Omar Gomez, 27; Paul Gomez, 54; Glaiza Gomez, 22; Louie Gomez, 7; Mary Ann Dela Cruz, 40;  Elevira Dela Cruz, 13; and Maria Victoria Dela Cruz. Their bodies were retrieved at about 6:40 a.m., more than six hours after the fire broke out at 12:15 a.m. yesterday at 2B12 and11 Streets in Barangay Damayang Lagi. All were trapped in their burning homes.

“All of them were burned beyond recognition after being trapped from their burning houses. Natutulog pa sila nung mangyari ang sunog,” Fernandez told Manila Bulletin.

Fernandez said the fire spread quickly as their houses, mostly shanties, were made of light materials.

Injured were Lino Iglopas and Danny Dalumpines who both sustained second degree burns; and Mark Michael Villaraiz, 31, and Francis Borleo, 20, who both sustained abrasions.

Fernandez said a total of 120 families (about 600 individuals) were rendered homeless as a result of the Quezon City fire that reached the fourth alarm.

He placed the total damage to property estimated at P250, 000.

Fernandez said the fire started at the second floor of a three-story house owned by one Elsa Jama and spread quickly to 49 other houses made of light materials.

Initial assessment showed the fire was caused by an electrical short circuit.

“Based on initial investigation, may nag-overload daw na jumper. Iyun ang tinitignan namin cause ng sunog,” Fernandez.

More or less 40 fire trucks from both the Bureau of Fire Protection (BFP) and Fire Volunteer Brigades arrived at the area and put out the fire at 3:36 a.m. the same day.

Fernandez said fire fighters had difficulty penetrating the area as there was only one narrow road leading to then place.

Affected residents are temporarily staying along the sidewalk, waiting for help from the local city government, Fernandez said.

ANOTHER QC FIRE

Hours, earlier an estimated P300,000 worth of properties were also destroyed following a fire that hit a one-story house also in Quezon City.

Fernandez said that based on their initial probe, the fire took place at 107 Jade St., Green Heights Subdivision, San Bartolome, Quezon City, at 2:17 p.m. The house is owned by one Vilma Reyes, 59, and currently being occupied by the Malimas family.

Fernandez said no one was hurt or killed in the fire that reached the second alarm.

VALENZUELA FIRE

In Valenzuela City, about 400 families were left homeless and a person with special need died after a fire razed their houses Thursday night.

Bonifacio Carta, Valenzuela’s chief fire investigator, said that Wilbert Silahis, 33, the person with special needs, drowned after he tried to escape from their burning house by jumping into the nearby river.

Silahis’ body was found floating later.

Investigation showed that the fire started at the house of a certain Ramon Nobrera on Road 1 in Barangay Malanday, at about 11 p.m.

Residents said Nobrera and his wife were quarreling when Ramon allegedly threw their oil lamp to his wife at the height of their argument. This allegedly triggered the fire.

Carta said Nobrera has since fled the area and went into hiding.

Like in the Quezon City, narrow roads prevented firemen from responding quickly.

Meanwhile, displaced families are temporarily staying at the Malanday National High School, Andres Fernando Elementary school, and at the covered court near the Malanday Barangay Hall.

According to Fortunato Aravilla, barangay captain of Malanday, Mayor Rexlon “Rex” Gatchalian went to the area to monitor the fire. Reports said he was asking the victims about their needs.

Nelia Artemio, 33, a resident of the area since birth, said she can’t sleep that night, sensing the peril that awaits their community.

“Hindi po ako makatulog kasi ramdam ko na may manyayaring masama, at ‘yun nga, narinig ko ang mga kapitbahay ko na sumisigaw ng ‘sunog, sunog!’ (I can’t sleep that night, sensing that something wrong will happen, and I was right. I heard my neighbors shouting that there is fire),” she told the Manila Bulletin. (With a report from Jel Santos)

source: Manila Bulletin

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