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Alleged link of use of illegal drugs to Barangay Luz fire probed; man detained, released

By: Alven Marie A. Timtim - CDN Digital January 14,2020 - 09:25 PM

An estimated P1,000,000 worth of damages is recorded from the fire in Barangay Luz in the evening of January 13, 2020. | Gerard Francisco

CEBU CITY, Philippines —Investigators are checking if the alleged use of illegal drugs has any connection to the the start of the fire that razed at least 60 houses and displaced at least 122 families or 337 individuals in Sitio Santo Niño 3, Barangay Luz, Cebu City.

Fire Officer 2 Fulbert Navarro of the Cebu City Fire Department said that this was among the possibilities that they were investigating especially since several residents in Sitio Santo Niño 3, Barangay Luz claimed that before the fire started they allegedly heard people talking about burning the house down because it had turned into an alleged drug den.

Read more: P1M worth of property destroyed after fire razes 60 houses in Barrio Luz

Navarro said they were investigating this claim as well as the one where a Sitio Santo Niño 3 resident, who allegedly uses illegal drugs, was blamed for having started the three-hour fire in Barangay Luz, Cebu City on January 13, 2020.

The man was held by a group of residents in the area and brought to the barangay hall.

He was detained but was released later after barangay officials and fire investigators could not find any proof to back up the residents’ claim.

Navarro said that the residents claimed that the 29-year-old man, who was the son of the owner of the house where the fire started, was an alleged known drug user in the area.

They said that the man was allegedly having a “shabu session” at the third floor of the house and could have accidentally started the fire at the third floor of their house at that time.

But since the accusers had no proof to back their allegations, the man was freed.

Read more: IN PHOTOS: Barangay Luz Fire: The morning after

Navarro also said that they were investigating if those claims of arson were true or not.

He was referring to the alleged talk of residents in the area prior to the fire about talks to allegedly burn the house because it was turning into an alleged drug den,

“Ato gina follow and kaning detail nga basi kuno gi tuyo pero ato pa pud iverify,” said Navarro.

(We are also investigating the claim that the fire was intentionally started, but this had yet to be verified.)

Meanwhile, the most of the displaced fire victims, whom the City Social Welfare Services said to have reached 337 individuals or 122 families as of past 6 p.m., were staying in Sitio Abellana gymnasium a few meters away from the fire scene.

The Cebu City government had already provided free meals to the victims and other necessary things including hygiene kits, mats and construction materials. | dbs

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