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750 families affected by QC fire waiting for help

TAKING STOCK Residents of Barangay Damayang Lagi sift through the remains of their houses, looking for things they can salvage. —Jam Sta Rosa

A day after a huge fire destroyed around 250 houses at Barangay Damayang Lagi in Quezon City, the victims had to make do with 20 tents donated by the local government as others settled for camping out in the streets while waiting for help to come.

The blaze that started in a shanty on E. Rodriguez Avenue reached the general alarm—the highest alert level of the Bureau of Fire Protection (BFP)—around 3 p.m. on Wednesday.

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It was put out two hours later but not before it displaced at least 750 families.

The fire quickly spread to adjacent houses because of a fanning effect caused by strong winds and a drop in water pressure, according to BFP chief, Director Leonard Bañago.

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Ricky Arellano of the Quezon City Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council said that since Wednesday, they had put up 20 modern solar-powered tents each designed to accommodate up to three families.

“While some families will not be accommodated in the tents, our priority right now is to keep women, children and the elderly safe and [give them] privacy,” he added.

Rotating shifts

“There’s no recommendation yet to put up additional tents, but our four response teams here will continue with our rotating shifts to monitor the residents’ needs,” Arellano said.

One of the beneficiaries of the modular tents, 19-year-old Kimberly Karangyan, was left homeless with her 9-month-old daughter and four younger siblings.

“We had to run quickly when the fire started to spread, so we weren’t able to save any of our possessions, especially the children’s things,” she said.

As early as Wednesday evening, families have been lining up in front of the barangay hall to have themselves verified as residents of the village, according to Damayang Lagi chair Renato Boy Tanyag.

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Tanyag said the affected families had been receiving food and relief packs from the city government and private donors.

“But now that the number of those who registered for relief has ballooned to 1,500, we might have to request for an additional calamity fund to provide for them,” he said.

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TAGS: 750, Barangay Damayang Lagi, help, QC fire, Quezon City, victims
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