THE death toll in the fire that hit several houses in Cebu City Tuesday has climbed to seven, as authorities found Wednesday morning, Sept. 1, 2021, the body of the seventh victim.
The fire hit a residential area on Arlington Pond, Barangay Sta. Cruz, Cebu City Tuesday afternoon. At least 15 houses were destroyed by the fire, while five others were damaged.
Killed in the incident were Hannah Mae Carvajal, 34; Felicity Sachi Carvajal, 12; Jen Lyka Lino, 16; Andre Carvajal, 6; Dan Henry Carvajal, 3; Lilian Carvajal, 72; and Ivan Mejia, 58.
Senior Fire Officer 1 Wendel Villanueva said the victims were trapped inside their house after the fire broke out.
“Based sa account sa naka survive, paggawas niya, murag late na bitaw siya naka realize nga duna siya’y mga kauban sa sulod. Wala naman siya gitugtan nga makabalik sa balay nga nasunog,” said Villanueva.
(Based on the survivor’s account, it was already late when he realized that other people were still inside the burning house. He was no longer allowed to enter and save the victims.)
Villanueva stressed the importance of having an alarm system in houses that will help alert families in case of fire.
“Ang numero uno makapaluya, makapatay nato it’s because of the smoke due to suffocation,” he added.
He also said that simulation exercises, particularly the so-called “Exit Drill in the Home” or Edith, is very important to prevent deaths in case of fire incidents.
“Your firefighters in Cebu City Fire Office and all over the Philippines, we encourage everyone to practice Edith. ‘Exit Drill in the Home.’ We need to practice that, especially the parents, we should have an exit drill with our children and household members, so that in case of fire, we could already identify where to exit the building,” he said in Cebuano.
He also stressed the importance of identifying a common area, where members of the family can meet in case of fire incidents.
Latest reports from the Cebu City Fire Office revealed that the fire Tuesday, Aug. 31, has left P11.2 million worth of damage to properties.
Investigators have not yet identified the cause of the blaze but said the fire started at the second floor of the house owned by Lizabeth Lao.
The fire office received the alarm at 2:03 p.m. Tuesday and the fire was placed under control 22 minutes after.
The incident was declared a fire out at 3:41 p.m.
Aside from the fatalities, three firefighters were also injured in the incident. They were identified as Inspector Eraño Fernandez, 23, who sustained burns on his left leg; Fire Officer 1 Terencio Lape, 30, who was wounded on his palm; and Fire Volunteer (Sambag 2 Fire) John Robert Rallos, 22. (HBL / LMY)