By Dominique Gabriel G. Bañaga
Arson investigators are currently probing as to what exactly caused the blaze at Purok Neptune in Barangay Singcang-Airport, Bacolod City on Monday afternoon.
In an interview yesterday morning with Fire Chief Inspector Rodel Legaspi, fire marshal of the Bureau of Fire Protection (BFP)-Bacolod City, he said from what they have gathered so far the fire reportedly started at a house owned by certain Teresa Pistaño and Shiela Sanong.
Legaspi said they are still unable to determine what exactly caused the fire, but witnesses reported that the explosions were either caused by a leftover clothes iron, or at the main switch of Pistaño’s house.
The city fire marshal said based on their own findings, at least 25 houses were gutted by fire. A separate report issued by the local government of Barangay Singcang-Airport, meanwhile, reported an additional 30 houses that either suffered light to extensive damage.
Legaspi said the initial cost of damaged properties in the area was estimated at P350,000.
As of press time the affected families are currently being sheltered at the J.R. Torres Elementary School in the said barangay.
Legaspi said the fire spread quickly in the area because most of the houses were made of light materials. The windy conditions on Monday also worsened the fire.
However, he added that the winds may have also saved several homes in the area, pointing out some houses near where the fire started did not sustain any damages.
“We are thankful that despite the rapid spread of the fire due to the windy conditions, no one was either killed or hurt in the incident,” Legaspi said.
Barangay Singcang-Airport captain Rosinie Distrito, meanwhile, said a total of 65 households were affected in the blaze.
Distrito said Bacolod City lone district Congressman Greg Gasataya immediately sent in food aid to the residents last Monday night.
Several individuals have also poured in donations of clothes, water and medicine. Distrito also confirmed that he had talked with Bacolod City Mayor Evelio Leonardia and the latter said they will give financial assistance to fire victims.
The barangay captain also appealed to generous individuals that the affected residents now need building materials in order for them to rebuild their homes.
In order to avoid such incidents from happening again, Distrito said they will try to see if they can create another road in order for the area to become more accessible to emergency vehicles./DGB, WDJ