By LITO RULONA and NITZ ARANCON
FIRE broke out in a slum located along the boundaries of barangays Puntod and Lapasan, destroyed some 39 houses, and displaced over 100 people Saturday morning.
SFO3 Samson Velarde said at least five people suffered burns and were wounded as a result of the fire that spread in St. John Vianney, Sitio Tabako in Barangay Puntod, and neighboring San Isidro in Barangay Lapasan.
Three were rushed to the JR Borja Memorial General Hospital: Ron Talayan, Nasario Ellazar and Apolinario Diaz. One of those wounded after they stepped on nails was Carlito Ebaoc.
The fire started in an area adjacent to the Tulay Semento in Barangay Lapasan.
Officials said the fire broke out at around 8:50 am and a “fire out” was declared at around noon time.
Velarde said fire fighters had difficulties in battling the over three-hour fire because of problems on road rights.
He said initial investigation showed the fire started in a shanty that belonged to Apolinario and Lucia Diaz.
Lucia, who was among those injured, said the fire started while she was cooking. “Mitalikod ko kadyut kay naa ko gikuha. Pagbalik nako misaka ang kalit ang kalayo paingon sa taas,” she said.
Residents said it was not the first time for the Diazes’ shanty to catch fire.
“Kadtong katulo nga previous nga nahitabo natabang sa mga silingan nga palungon, pero karon wala kay dako naman ang kalayo nga nabantayan,” an angry resident.
Velarde said fire fighters were delayed because they still had to destroy some structures because there was no accessible road they could use to reach the area.
Puntod barangay chairman Rexie Tinampay has appealed to city hall, through the City Social and Welfare Development (CSWD), to send more relief aid.
Barangay officials turned the St. John Elementary School as an evacuation area for the displaced families.