BACOOR CITY, Cavite -– A fire that razed more than 600 houses, mostly shanties at the Maliksi 3 Village seaside community of informal settlers in this city on Wednesday evening left one man dead and three children missing.
Bacoor City Mayor Lani Mercado Revilla said more than 2,200 persons were displaced and are now sheltered at the Maliksi Elementary School as temporary evacuation center.
Revilla also directed city government assistance to the fire victims as the city social welfare office provides food, blanket, clothes and relief goods.
Maynilad Water also supplied truckloads of drinking water for the evacuees.
Bureau of Fire Protection (BFP)-Bacoor City initial investigation said on Thursday the fire started at the house of Raffy Ola whose children were witnessed by neighbors to have toyed with a match.
A lighted match stick was carelessly thrown at light and combustible materials, causing fire that quickly spread to the closely-built shanties and makeshift houses.
Strong winds also fanned the flames that engulfed the entire residential area and reached the 5th alarm, fire fighters said.
Arson investigator Senior Fire Officer 3 Pablito De Castro described that the residential area was “closely-packed” with over a thousand residents occupying the more than 600 shanties.
Village officials also confirmed that several houses have illegal electrical connections which resulted in the rapid spread of the blaze.
In an interview on Thursday at the evacuation center, Fe Cerera, sister of the lone fatality, 52-year-old Alejo Cerera, said her brother arrived home drunk and told her he wanted to sleep.
She said her brother could have been trapped inside the house during the two-hour fire.
When the firefighters declared fire out by 8 p.m. Wednesday, Fe’s family scoured the burned abode and found her brother’s charred remains.
BFP is inviting witnesses and fire victims who could provide sworn statements and documents needed in their investigation and account for the three children reported as missing. Rogelio Limpin/PNA-northboundasia.com