Radio reports said it took three hours before firefighters were able to put out the fire that started 10:30 a.m.
Cotabato City Mayor Muslimin Sema, interviewed over radio station DXMS in Cotabato City, sought the help of fire bureau from neighboring areas. Although the city has at least four fire trucks, the fire was so intense that in an hour, it destroyed almost all the houses along Sinsuat Avenue and Sousa Street, he said.
Concrete establishments were reportedly not spared.
The firemen led by their chief, Adam Guiamad, went into a frenzy preventing the fire from engulfing two gasoline stations nearby.
Reports said that the fire also razed one of the buildings inside the Notre Dame of Cotabato for Girls located along Sinsuat Avenue.
The fire, the biggest since 1990, has marred the commemoration of All Saints Day in Cotabato as it set off panic among many city residents.
Investigators have yet to determine the cause of fire.
Many of the houses and establishments that were razed were reportedly made of light materials.
Sema has already ordered the release of financial aid to fire victims and has designated temporary shelter for them. (MindaNews)