Firefighters also battled a blaze in Brgy. Handumanan
By Dominique Gabriel G. Bañaga
At least 230 homes were destroyed early yesterday morning following a huge blaze at Purok Cagaycay, which is located in Bacolod City’s Barangay 2. According to Barangay 2 Captain Emelda Banguanga, the fire reportedly began between 2:00 a.m. and 3:00 a.m. after a fight broke out between a certain Elbert Deo and his wife, whom authorities are only identifying by the alias ‘Katkat.’
In an interview with Deo, he denied a fight took place but said they had fought the day prior as she had reportedly refused to accompany him to Manila to seek employment. However, the barangay captain said witnesses claimed a fight took place Monday morning, wherein ‘Katkat’ reportedly threatened to set their house and his fishing boat ablaze if he proceeded with his plans.
The fire is said to have started after Deo’s wife allegedly threw a lamp in their home.
Banguanga also said it is believed ‘Katkat’ may have been under the influence of illegal drugs during the incident.
As the fire spread, local residents immediately fled, with some jumping into the sea and swimming to a nearby seawall to get away. Meanwhile, firefighters faced delays in responding as another fire was raging in Barangay Handumanan, where a supermarket was reportedly gutted.
Once personnel from the Bacolod City Bureau of Fire Protection (BFP), along with those from Talisay City and Silay City BFP stations, arrived, the blaze was doused several hours after it initially started.
The estimated cost of damages has yet to be determined as of press time, although a survey of the destruction indicate 80 to 90 percent of the community had been wiped out by the blaze. Incidentally, the area was also struck by a blaze in 2017, which was also caused by a fight between a husband and wife.
Following the fire, Police Station 2 (PS2) took Deo into custody for “safe keeping” as local residents were infuriated by the incident.
In response, the Bacolod City Disaster Risk Reduction Management Office and Department of Social Services and Development visited the area in order to further assess and evaluate the damage. The barangay official noted, affected residents currently need food, medical supplies, clothes, and sanitation kits.
With increased rainfall experienced in the city recently, Banguanga added, they also need temporary shelter for affected residents, such as tents or canopies.
Currently, residents are being housed at the local barangay hall, nearby Andres Bonifacio Elementary School, and a local chapel./DGB, WDJ