By JOEY NACALABAN and
NITZ ARANCON Correspondents
SOME 70 families were left homeless when a fire of still undetermined origin broke out and razed to the ground 45 houses on Gumamela Street in Sitio Mangitngit, Barangay Carmen, this city, on Tuesday night.
Authorities estimated the damages to reach at least P1 million.
The fire spread in a community just a few meters from the residence of Rep. Rolando Uy of the 1st District of this city.
Two people were hurt and rushed to a hospital.
District fire marshal Senior Supt. Allan Cabot identified the victims as Bernard Quimania and Juvy Emata.
Cabot said investigators were looking into a report that the fire started on the second floor of the house owned by a Carmen market vegetable vendor named Edna Obatay.
Julyvieve Careras, a fire victim, claimed she saw the fire spreading from Ubatay’s house.
She said she was informed that one of Obatay’s grandchildren was cooking in the kitchen and left it to play Chinese garter with other neighbors.
But Obatay vehemently denied the allegation. She said there was no one in her house.
“Nakaibot tanan among outlet sa mga appliances. Akong gitrangkahan para walay makasulod laing tawo. Busa kana ilang pasangil di ko gyud angkonon,” Obatay said.
Cabot said fire trucks had difficulties because of ongoing road works in the area.
The fire, he said, quickly spread because many of the houses were made of highly combustible materials.
The fire victims are now temporarily housed at the senior high school building in Macanhan, Carmen
City administrator Teodoro Sabuga-a Jr. said city hall, through the City Social Welfare and Development office, quickly sent relief aid to the fire victims.
Meanwhile, another fire broke out and destroyed at least nine shanties in San Lazaro in Barangay Lapasan at around 11 am yesterday.
SFO2 Benito Cobillan, Lapasan fire station chief, said the damages caused by the fire near Bitan-ag Creek were placed at P30 thousand.