Cebu City, Cebu - A 47-year-old mother died of a heart attack while an 11-month-old girl was killed when fire broke out Saturday night in Sitio Bato, Barangay Ermita, this city.
Nearly 200 families lost their houses in the blaze, considered as the biggest fire to hit the city so far this year. An estimated P1 million worth of property was destroyed.
The fire site has already been declared under a state of calamity, which will allow local officials to use their calamity funds to help at least 2,500 persons affected.
The Bureau of Fire and Protection (BFP)-Central Visayas received the call for help at 10:20 p.m. and declared the fire under control at 11:27 p.m.
Fire fighters had a hard time penetrating the area due to narrow roads and the presence of onlookers and salvagers. Fire Officer 3 Lowel Opolenticima said houses in the area were made of light materials, causing the flames to spread quickly.
The fire allegedly started in the house of Toribio Flores Jr., who briefly left his 11-month-old daughter, Mary Claire, in the care of a young nephew so he could go buy some diapers.
By the time Flores returned from the nearby store, his house was already being razed to the ground by the fire. His nephew, meanwhile, managed to run to safety.
Firefighters recovered Mary Claire's body at 1 a.m. on Sunday.
Cebu City Mayor Michael Rama has already ordered the city's social welfare office to provide assistance to the victims. Rama also suggested a reblocking of the area, which means more roads will be built within the place to allow firetrucks and emergency personnel to get into the area in case of similar incidents in the future.