ILOILO CITY — Residents displaced by a fire that gutted 31 houses in Barangay Taal in Molo District Monday evening have appealed for help as they need portable toilets, drinking water, adult diapers, and wheelchairs for persons with disabilities.
The fire which occurred at 9:02 p.m. allegedly started at the house of Richard Aguilar, Fire Chief Insp. Christopher Regencia, Iloilo City Fire Marshall, said.
Regencia said while they initially entertained the possibility that it was intentionally done, his investigating team has found the cable of a telephone line that was used for electrical connection.
“That is where we focus our investigation although we have not ruled out the possibility that it was intentionally done,” he said.
The City Social Welfare and Development Office initially tallied 41 affected families while four persons have complained of ankle sprain, avulsion or bone fracture, difficulty of breathing, and elevated blood pressure.
The victims were temporarily housed at the nearby Iloilo City National High School, according to a situation report from the Iloilo City Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office.
In the meantime, Regencia said that based on their initial investigation, 29 of the 31 houses were totally burned while the other two were partially gutted by the fire.
The damage was initially estimated at about PHP900,000, subject to the affidavits that will be submitted by the affected persons.
The fire marshal added that their office will be extending assistance to Senior Fire Officer 2 Rolen Homena whose house was also destroyed during the blaze.
“There will be an immediate cash assistance while other benefits will just follow,” he added.
Mayor Jose Espinosa III announced that the city government will fast-track the release of financial assistance to affected families worth PHP7,000 to those whose houses were totally charred and PHP5,000 for owners of partially burned houses. Perla Lena /PNA-northboundasia.com