DAVAO CITY (MindaNews/5 April)—At least 1,000 houses in three villages here were gutted down by a fire Friday night that was allegedly caused by a candle, the Bureau of Fire Protection (BFP) here said.
The huge blaze, which came just four days after the end of March, considered the country’s Fire Prevention Month, engulfed houses in Barangays 23-C, 22-C and 21-C, according to the BFP’s Central Fire Station.
Fire investigator Marlon Estaciones said the conflagration, which lasted for almost six hours, reportedly started from the house of a certain Tisay Mohamad of Barangay 23-C along Isla Verde Boulevard.
Some witnesses, however, said the fire started at the back of a restaurant.
Esterlita Dante, a 47-year old sidewalk vendor, lost everything that she has invested for years, including a 10-room boarding house built with the help of a daughter working abroad in Singapore.
“Hurot tanan (nothing is left),” said Dante, clearing her throat and trying to hold back her tears.
“We have just finished renovating a room at the second floor two weeks ago. We have fitted it with an air-conditioning unit because my daughter has just given birth. Gone are the videoke machine, television, refrigerator and electric fans,” she added.
“Utang ug prenda pa gani to tanan (We loaned the money by pawning to acquire all of them),” Dante said, showing her pawn papers to MindaNews.
“Nasalbar lagi namo ang ubang gamit namo, kay tu-a man naka prenda (Some of our things were saved because they were in the pawnshops),” said boarder Leonardo Bioco, which drew laughter among his friends and the landlady.
Bioco, a car painter, has been renting a room from Dante for at least five years already until the fire struck.
“Mura na mi ug mag igsuon dire sa sobra namo kadugay dire, mao nang dili pud mi magbiya dire (We’re like siblings here because of the duration of our stay, that’s why we will not leave this place),” he said.
When asked if they have a place to stay while they try to rebuild their house, Dante replied: “We are still lucky that we have relatives in R. Castillo. Most of us here are now cramped at the gym and nearby schools.” (Toto Lozano/MindaNews)