Fires raze school, homes hours apart

Posted on August 4, 2012


Three fires, two of which damaged eight classrooms and 94 houses, occurred less than 24 hours in Cebu City late Thursday evening and yesterday morning.

Two of the three fires occurred four hours apart. The third fire occurred in barangay Mambaling and caused minimal damage, Cebu City Fire Marshall Aderson Comar said yesterday.

The first fire razed a canteen that had yet to open and eight classrooms in an old, mostly wooden building at the Cebu City Central School at Osmeña Boulevard and P. Del Rosario Street.

F03 Lowel Opolentisima said the Gabaldon building was used by Grade 5 pupils and night high school students but no one was inside when the fire broke out at 10:45 p.m last Thursday.

The fire started at the newly constructed canteen that was scheduled for blessing with a Mass yesterday, Opolentisima said.

The cause of the fire has yet to be known since there was still no electrical connection in the canteen.

Comar said the damage at the Cebu City Central School was pegged at P150,000.

He said the teachers believed that the fire started at the classroom where a ceiling fan was supposedly turned on.

At 2:36 a.m., about 94 houses were razed in Barangay Quiot Pardo, Cebu City.

Opolentisima said the fire started on the the second floor of a two-story boarding house owned by one Aquilino Cabaluna.

The fire displaced 120 families or about 500 persons were displaced in in the dawn fire.

Barangay Captain Vicente Ramos said the barangay council already declared a state of calamity in sitio Sto. Niño where 94 houses were destroyed.

The displaced families are staying in tents at Greenbelt drive.

Ramos said the barangay will use a portion of their P120,000 calamity fund to buy galvanized sheets for the fire victims.

The fire was put out 15 minutes after it was reported. Comar pegged the damages at P400,000.

Comar said a teenager living in the area heard a minor explosion before the fire broke out at the upper floor of the boarding house.

Comar said there were reports that a boarder is recharging his cell phone at the time.

The incident caused some anxiety on settlers like Nido Romo, who said the area is reportedly owned by the Rallon family.

Romo said there’s a pending case in court regarding their occupancy.

The fire truck failed to enter the interior portion because of narrow roads. Most houses were made of light materials.

Social worker Tessie Fernandez of the Department of Social Welfare and Services (DSWS), said the city government will provide three days worth of food assistance along with other materials.

In Cebu City Central School Emiliano Piquero, night high school principal, said the classes for night high school were unaffected since they use the elementary rooms for classes.

Aside from the classrooms, Piquero said the library and two other rooms were damaged by the fire.

DSWS chief Ester Concha said they are packing canned goods and rice for “take home” food to the victims.

Concha said she’s hoping they could distribute the housing materials within this week.

Since today is a weekend, they will process the requests starting next week including the city’s P10,000 cash aid for each affected family. /Chito Aragon and Jhunnex Napallacan, Correspondents with Correspondent Tweeny M. Malinao

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