Manila Bulletin

Firemen battling blaze ‘harassed’


CEBU CITY – Two firemen and seven civilians were injured during a fire that engulfed a slum neighborho­od in Barangay Duljo-FatimaThur­sday night.

The fire razed for just over an hour and destroyed 200 houses, the Cebu City Fire Department (CCFD) said.

The blaze started in Sitio Bohol and spread to four other sitios - Duco, Riverside, Continenta­l and Plastikan.

The names of the injured were not immediatel­y available from authoritie­s,

The cause of the fire had yet to be determined, according to Senior Fire Officer 1 Edwin Handayan of the CCFD.

Tension rose when some residents allegedly fired gunshots in the air to force firefighte­rs to save their houses first.

Cebu City Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office (CCDRMO) head Nagiel Banacia, who was at the fire scene, said fire volunteers from barangays Kamputhaw and Ermita were harassed.

"Some residents fired warning shots to compel our volunteer firefighte­rs to prioritize their houses. I called the police to normalize the situation," Banacia said. No one was hurt in the shooting incident.

Angered by the reported harassment, Mayor Tomas Osmeña said he has ordered the police to identify and arrest the suspects.

"We will find them and we will shoot them. I'm not kidding," Osmeña told reporters Friday.

The mayor said the City Hall will give 110,000 financial aid to each of Duljo-Fatima fire victims, with plans to double the amount upon signing an executive order.

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