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Cebu fire leaves 1,500 families homeless

At least 1, 500 families or 7, 000 people were rendered homeless when a huge fire hit barangay Lorega-San Miguel, Cebu City, on Wednesday.

The Cebu City Council on Wednesday morning approved an ordinance declaring the fire-hit barangay under the state of calamity, allowing the city to utilize part of its P200-million calamity fund this year to aid the fire victims.

As of the last count Wednesday morning, at least 500 houses were totally damaged in the fire.

Councilor Dave Tumulak, the City Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council head, said the victims comprise of 1,500 families, roughly 40 percent of the barangay’s population.

The blaze allegedly started in the house of one Bobby Hortezano in sitio Kamansi and then spread to six other sitios – Lawis, Seares, San Roque, Laguna, Laray, Quadrangle and Itum-yuta. The cause of the blaze is still being investigated.

“It was like an inferno, the fire spread to fast that I only managed to save myself,” said 59-year-old Jose Labastida.

Strong winds and low water pressure enabled the fire to spread quickly through houses made of light materials. Large fires have hit the barangay at least three times since February 2001.