Blaze lev­els 60 houses

ONE THEORY: IT BE­GAN IN A DRUG DEN

Sun.Star Cebu - - FRONT PAGE - KEVIN A. LAGUNDA / Reporter @jazz­in­mo­tion

Some P300,000 worth of prop­er­ties were lost in the fire that struck Barangay Calamba, Cebu City early yes­ter­day morn­ing. Two the­o­ries: it started with a drug den’s can­dle or a man be­gan it be­cause his wife wouldn’t stop fight­ing.

A junkie sniff­ing shabu re­port­edly started a blaze yes­ter­day morn­ing, de­stroy­ing more than 200 houses in Si­tios Al­macin and Al­cica in Barangay Calamba, Cebu City.

SFO3 Lowel Opo­len­tisima said they are look­ing into the re­port that the fire started in a drug den.

He also re­ceived in­for­ma­tion that the fire be­gan in the two-story house of Eleazar Pilo­ton, a for­mer Cebu City Hall job-or­der em­ployee. It was not de­ter­mined if the house was a drug den.

Pilo­ton was brought to a po­lice station for ques­tion­ing, but he was not de­tained as there was no ev­i­dence that he was in­volved in the drug trade.

An­other in­for­ma­tion Opo- lentisima re­ceived was that the house was owned by Pilo­ton’s brother, who is known in the neigh­bor­hood as Nog­dog.

Po­lice also res­cued Michael Vin­cent Gin­goyon from neigh­bors who mauled af­ter they ac­cused him of start­ing the fire.

Af­ter frisk­ing him, Gin­goyon yielded drug para­pher­na­lia, which landed him in jail. He could not be charged with ar­son be­cause there was no wit­ness.

Ac­cord­ing to an­other re­port re­ceived by the Cebu City Fire Station, a hus­band ar­gu­ing with his wife had threat­ened to burn the house if she con­tin­ued to be­rate him.

Eve­lyne Per­a­men said she heard the man shout­ing that he would burn down their house and the wo­man dared him to do it. Mo­ments later, the fire started. No one was in­jured dur­ing the in­ci­dent.

Fire­fight­ers re­sponded af­ter re­ceiv­ing the alarm at 6:30 a.m.

At 7:46 a.m., they were able to stop the fire from spread­ing.

Dam­ages to prop­er­ties were pegged at P500,000. Opo­len­tisima the fire spread fast be­cause the houses were mostly made of wood.

Mean­while, fire sur­vivors who are sub­ject to a de­mo­li­tion will be tem­po­rar­ily al­lowed to stay.

Atty. Meriam Con­suelo of the Di­vi­sion for the Wel­fare of the Ur­ban Poor said that there’s no rea­son they should be dis­placed.

She said they can still un­til the day of the de­mo­li­tion.

In his news con­fer­ence yes­ter­day, Mayor Tomas Os­meña said the in­ci­dent should serve as a re­minder for the com­mu­nity to adopt pre­ven­tive mea­sures.

Res­i­dents, he said, should be ed­u­cated on how to use fire ex­tin­guish­ers since City has plans to dis­trib­ute these in all si­tios in the 80 barangays.

Based on the records of Cebu City Dis­as­ter Risk Re­duc­tion Man­age­ment Of­fice, the fire af­fected 1,158 in­di­vid­u­als, or 286 fam­i­lies, and de­stroyed 223 houses.

Some fire sur­vivors are in the barangay gym, while oth­ers are tak­ing tem­po­rary shel­ter on the grounds of the Reme­dios Parish on A. Lopez St.

SUN­STAR FOTO / ALAN TANGCAWAN

EARLY START. Fire­fight­ers put out the last em­bers in a fire that hit Si­tios Al­ma­cen and Al­cica in Barangay Calamba, Cebu City.

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