CAINTA, Rizal -- Fire investigators are still combing through the charred debris to determine what caused the fire which razed hundreds of homes in Gruar Subdivision and San Buena Compound in this city’s Barangay Santo Domingo Sunday afternoon.
Initial investigation showed that least two are dead, 20 injured and 800 are left homeless in the blaze that reportedly began around 5:22 p.m. and quickly reached fifth alarm less than an hour after it started.
The Bureau of Fire Protection's (BFP) Cainta office said the two fatalities, an 81 year-old woman and 26 year-old man, appear to have been trapped in their homes, unable to flee as the fire quickly spread.
Around 300 houses were destroyed in the five-hour long fire, bringing the estimated damage to about PHP6 million, the BFP said.
Supt. Antonio Sobejana, BFP Calabarzon Assistant Director for Operations, said in an interview that around 40 fire trucks from Cainta and nearby areas worked together to put out the blaze. He said they were slowed down by heavy traffic on their way to the site.
“The house structures are made of light materials that’s why the fire spread quickly. The site is crammed and it was difficult for our fire fighters to penetrate the area,” Sobejana said in Filipino.
He explained that the traffic situation from Metro Manila to Cainta, Rizal is always heavy, which hampered other responding firefighters coming from the cities of Makati, Mandaluyong, Pasig and even from nearby Taytay.
The fire was declared out by 8:50 p.m. Sunday night, he added.
As of press time, those rendered homeless by the blaze have been temporarily relocated to four evacuation centers near the Riverside Basketball Covered Court, which were hurriedly established by the Cainta local government.
Cainta Mayor Johnielle Keith Pasion Nieto, who was at the site of the fire, mobilized the Local Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council and assured affected residents that they would get assistance from the local government.
“I have requested the Sangguniang Bayan to study the propriety of declaring a state of calamity limited to Barangay Sto. Domingo. Restoration of their homes begins tomorrow. Emergency employment for all affected residents will be adopted as they will be tasked to construct their shelters while government provides materials,” the mayor said. (PNA)
Photo from UNTV drone shot-video