A sky lantern and a firecracker were being blamed for the fires that hit a slum area and a house in Quezon City and a school building in Manila at the height of the New Year revelry.
No one was reported hurt or killed in the three blazes that broke out shortly after the start of 2013 although a fourth fire that broke out in the afternoon in Manila left a still unidentified woman dead.
Around 30 informal settler families were left homeless in the blaze in Quezon City that started at 1 a.m. Tuesday.
According to city fire marshal Senior Supt. Bobby Baruelo, some residents have claimed that the fire started after a sky lantern landed on the roof of one of the shanties in a slum area on Pag-ibig Street in Barangay (village) Commonwealth.
He added, however, that this claim has yet to verified by arson investigators.
Baruelo said the blaze destroyed around 15 houses and an estimated P300,000 worth of property before it was put out an hour later.
Meanwhile, another one hit a two-story house in the Cubao area, also in Quezon City, just five minutes into the first day of the New Year.
The fire broke out at the home of Salvador Flores at 19 Cambridge St. in Barangay E. Rodriguez. It reached the fourth alarm before it was put out by responding firemen at 12:52 a.m. Tuesday.
Baruelo estimated the damage to property at P1 million and said the cause remained under investigation.
In Tondo, Manila, a blaze hit a school building on Herbosa Street, destroying a room where new computers and a stack of school supplies were being kept.
Chief Insp. Leo Carta of the Manila Fire Department said the fire at Amado V. Hernandez Elementary School started at 12:39 a.m. and reached the fifth alarm. It took two hours before firemen managed to contain it.
“Firecrackers that may have been thrown accidentally at the school could have caused the fire,” Carta said in an interview.
He added that based on the statement of a teacher who rushed to the premises, the blaze destroyed the supplies and property room.
The results of the initial investigation showed the fire started at the second floor and caused around P1 million worth of damage.
Meanwhile, firemen have yet to identify the woman whose body was found inside a burnt house at the corner of Gabriela and Dagupan Streets, also in Tondo.
Senior Fire Officer 2 Marcon Perez of the Manila Bureau of Fire said the blaze broke out at 12:54 p.m. and was put out at 1:39 p.m. He added that they were still trying to determine what caused the fire.
Another blaze was reported in a residential area in Marikina City, around eight hours before the start of the New Year.
According to FO3 Joel Tugade, the fire broke out in the two-story house of Lucendo Antonio on Kamagong Street in Montevista Subdivision, Barangay Industrial Valley Complex at 4:20 p.m.
It was put out at 5:08 p.m. but not before it damaged around P100,000 worth of property.—With Kristine Felisse Mangunay