DAVAO CITY, Philippines — Around 200 houses were razed in a massive fire that hit Purok 4, Isla Verde, Barangay 23-C in Davao City last Wednesday, February 20 and displaced hundreds of families.
The Bureau of Fire Protection (BFP), after investigation, placed the cost of damaged properties to more than PHP1 million.
The fire started at around 1:30 p.m. due to electrical short circuit and was controlled at around 2:35 p.m., the BFP said in a report.
Senior Fire Officer 3 (SFO3) Ramil Gillado told DavaoToday in an interview that the fire started in the house of a certain Fernando Anton which is made of light materials.
Gillado pointed out that the fire started from the ceiling due to an electrical short circuit.
He said that Anton does not have a legal electrical connection and only taps electricity from his neighbor.
“In cases like electrical tapping, it’s uncertified and could cause a short circuit or if the wire is old it can produce a spark that can cause a fire,” Gillado said.
But another version on the cause of the disaster also floated when Davao Today made some inquiries from the victims.
A resident in the area named Jay-ar also known as Inggang told Davao Today that the fire was intentional and that he saw a man lit the fire and escaped.
He described the suspect as short and fat and was carrying a blue plastic bag.
“While walking, I saw a man lit the fire, and I shouted at him to stop but he already lit the house and I couldn’t apprehend him because he immediately escaped,” Jay-ar said.
But Gillado said there are a lot of speculations whether the fire was intended or was caused by an accident.
He added that the BFP is still open to any possibilities and will conduct further investigation on the incident.
“We are still verifying if that story is true because there are still no official witnesses regarding that matter and we are open for that possible angle,” Gillado said.
On the other hand, the City Social Services and Development Office (CSSDO) said a total of 166 houses were completely destroyed by the fire.
A total of 346 affected families were also affected by the incident, the CSSDO added.
“There is no official tally yet because we are still investigating,” an official of CSSDO said.
The social welfare office also told reporters that the fire victims are currently staying at the Isla Verde Gymnasium. (Ray Francis Villarias, HCDC intern/davaotoday.com)