A 10-year-old boy died in a fire that gutted 40 houses and displaced 47 families in Sitio Cabancalan I in Barangay Bulacao, Cebu City, at past 5 a.m. yesterday.
Frederick Sumagang’s charred remains were found in an alley outside their two-storey home where the fire reportedly started.
The cause of fire has yet to be determined, said Senior Fire Officer Lowel Opolentisima of the Cebu City Fire Department. “We are still investigating it,” he said.
Based on their initial investigation, the blaze started at the second floor of the Sumagang home.
The Cebu City Fire Department received the alarm at 5:55 a.m.
The fire was declared under control after 20 minutes and was put out at 9:05 a.m. Opolentisima pegged the damage at P350,000.
Frederick’s mother Joanry said they were sleeping in the living room when she was awakened by the smoke caused by the fire from the second floor of their house.
She said she and her children immediately ran out of the house.
But she later noticed that Frederick, the fifth of her six children, was missing.
“I would have wanted to go back to our house, thinking that Dodong was there. However, I was prevented by my other children because the fire was so big already,” the 41-year-old mother said in Cebuano.
Frederick, who has a mental disability, was found dead when the smoke cleared.
His remains were brought to the St. Francis Funeral Homes along Natalio Bacalso Avenue in Cebu City.
Nagiel Bañacia, chief of the Cebu City Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office (CCDRRMO) said the city will allocate a P10,000 cash assistance to the Sumagang family.
He also said the fire victims need not worry about losing their homes since they can return to their areas.
Bañacia said the lot where the houses are located is owned by the city.
“There’s a huge possibility that they can go back there. We are confident,” Bañacia said.
He said the city will no longer have to reblock the fire site since it is located near existing roads.
The fire victims are staying in a chapel near the fire site.
Bañacia said they decided not to bring the victims to the public elementary school in the barangay since it is far from the fire site.
“Usually, victims would want to stay near their burned houses so that they can watch over their areas,” he said.
Meals were provided by City Hall’s Department of Social Welfare and Services (DSWS) yesterday and this will continue until tomorrow.
Personnel from the City Health Department (CHD) also visited the temporary staging area for the fire victims to conduct checkups and treat those with injuries.
Elsewhere, about nine houses were destroyed by a fire in Barangay Pulpogan, Consolacion town at 3:30 p.m. yesterday.
Senior Fire Officer Tyron Gocela of the Consolacion Fire Station said the fire was caused by an electric short-circuit at the houses of Edna Tibon and Dutosme Indang based on the accounts of their neighbors.
The fire spread to the neighboring houses and was put out at 4:20 p.m. No one was hurt.
Letecia Torre, a 65-year-old neighbor and sister of Edna Tibon, said her house was spared from the fire by the trees between her home and her sister’s house. Damages were pegged at P350,000.