CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY – A 12-hour “Valentine’s Day” fire struck this seaport capital Sunday morning left about 1,000 people homeless.

The fire gobbled up more than 200 houses of light and concrete houses in Pinikitan, Camaman-an, Cagayan De Oro City about 2:00 a.m. and was declared a fire out past 1:00 p.m. Sunday.

Fire officials are still determining the cause of the fire that occurred just the rain drizzled after months of dry spell spawned by the El Nino phenomenon.

Fire Supt. Dominador Tambalo, of the regional Bureau of Fire Protection, said that a major fire alarm was sounded early morning Sunday, but fire trucks could not go near because of narrow and muddy streets.

He said that the firefighters had to struggle to keep the fire from spreading as private fire volunteer brigade served as back up.

Witnesses said that the fire reportedly started in a house owned by a certain “Judy.” Fire officials, however, said they are still determining the exact cause of the fire.Tambalo said that no injuries have been reported yet, but damage to property has been estimated to reach more than PHP5 million.

Village officials said that the homeless are now housed in the village “cover court,” which would serve as temporary evacuation centers.

Village Chief Pedro Arda said that the village officials have started to organize relief operations and urged city residents to extend in kind or in cash to assist the fire victims. PNA/northboundasia.com