A small chapel was spared by a fire that razed several houses surrounding it in Purok Katilingan, Banago, Bacolod City noontime yesterday, while many of the fire victims complained that their appliances and other valuables were stolen.
Antonio Garcia, one of the fire victims, complained that his TV set, Orocan container and washing machine, were stolen when he arrived from work. “Aside from losing my house, I also lost my appliances,” he said.
Garcia said he left his work when he was informed that about 15 houses in his neighborhood had already been razed by fire.
He said his friend tried to save his things but left them in an open space, while he tried to help his own family to safety.
Garcia said he lives near the house where the fire originated and since his house was razed by the fire, he does not know where they will spend the night.
However, he and his neighbors noticed that their small chapel that was across a basket ball court was miraculously spared by the blaze.
Residents of the area, including small children, tried to help put out the fire and prevent it from spreading.
Mayor Evelio Leonardia, who was at the scene, said he will ask the police to investigate the lootings that took place during the fire incident.
Provincial Fire Marshall Supt. Fred Trajeras Jr. said the fire was just about 100 meters away from an oil depot but they were able to combat it strategically and effectively, to protect lives with the help of fire trucks from neighboring towns and cities.
He also thanked the Amity and Bacolod Chamber of Commerce Fire Brigade for helping put the fire out.
Banago Barangay Captain Arnel Benjamin said they held an emergency session yesterday to request the Bacolod Sangguniang Panlungsod to declare Banago under a state of calamity so they can use their 30 percent calamity fund.
He is also appealing to other residents for help for the fire victims.
Councilor Caesar Distrito said he believes SP will support the request of Barangay Banago for a declaration of a state of calamity so they could release their quick response fund.
Leonardia said that, under the system implemented by the late interior and local Govenrment Secretary Jessie Robredo, the 5 percent calamity fund, if not used in a year, will accumulate and become a trust fund which increases every year if not used.
Distrito, a member of the Board of the Philippine Red Cross, also reminded donors, particularly politicians to course their donations through the PRC to avoid committing any election offense, even if these are personal fund.
Leonardia said the fire victims will stay at the Domingo Lacson National High School, while some can stay in the new gym in San Mateo in the barangay. As long as their names are listed, they will be provided assistance by the city, he said.*CGS