54 homes and businesses located in Sitio Kabulihan, Barangay Sambag Uno went up in smoke last Sunday night, August 2, 2015. Other reports say the total number of burned homes and establishments reached 58, which would mean 155 families affected. The First Baptist Church Christian School and one house were partially damaged. The total worth of property lost amounted to P1 million.
The Bureau of Fire Protection (BFP) reported receiving the alarm at around 11:30 PM. The level of the alarm was heightened, requiring Task Force Alpha to the respond to incident.
Victims blame one local resident named, Emmanuel Camillo. Initial reports stated that defects in a butane canister from Camillo’s home was the cause of the fire. But angry neighbors said Camillo was at fault because he allegedly slammed the canister of butane after his mother refused to give him money which he and his wife denies. In an article by The Freeman, Camillo argued, “Ngano’ng ako man nang buhaton nga maapil mi ug akong pamilya og kamatay?” His five-year-old daughter’s life was also in danger because of the flames.
Camillo blames his uncle, Rusty who lives in the same house but in a separate room, for leaving a lit candle, resulting in the fire. But Rusty was reported to have been washing a car outside the home when the fire occurred.
Firefighters from other areas, including Minglanilla, helped in putting out the fire. By 1:00 AM, the BFP announced that the fire was under control but it was only until dawn that the fire was put out completely. The 550 people now homeless were assembled at a covered court in Sitio Tangkongan. There they were provided food by local officials and the Department of Social Welfare Services.
The flames damaged the compound and third floor of the church of the affected Christian school. The school’s administration decided to stop operations and will resume classes once they ensured that the school’s premises were safe enough for the students to enter.
Residents said they were able to save barely any of their belongings but no casualties have been reported. The survivors will be housed for the meantime at the City Central School along P. del Rosario St.
Photo credits: Manila Bulletin