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Two fires in two hours

08:21 AM March 12, 2012

Two fires in two hours broke out in Cebu City yesterday, bringing to 10 the number of fires that occurred this March known as Fire Prevention Month.

The first fire hit sitio Fatima, Sudlon Lahug, at past 3 p.m. The fire reportedly originated in the house of Apas Elementary School principal Teresita Manzandes.

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A candle got dropped in a prayer session at Manzanades’ room.

“When we checked, the fire spread and it caused sparks of electricity,” said Marilyn Tacmuan, Manzanades’ neighbor.

Cebu City Fire Marshall Aderson Comar said witnesses told him someone was praying at the second floor and the candle fell, causing a fire that spread to the upper part of the house down to the ground floor.

The fire ate the two nearby houses. “Our firefighters had a hard time entering the fire scene since the area was too narrow and some of our trucks went the other way,” Comar told reporters.

Comar had just attended a meeting of the barangay fire brigade volunteers to plan their upcoming inter-barangay skills competition.

As the smoke cleared, two houses were totally burnt while one was partially damaged.

About 13 others were affected. The Cebu City Fire Department pegged the damages at P50,000.

Lahug barangay councilor Mary Ann Delos Santos said their barangay will provide tents for the victims.

The fire was controlled within three minutes. Local TV crews complained that they were barred from entering the fire scene by members of the Cebu City Volunteers Movement (CCVM).

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“We’ve been covering a lot of fire alarms and this is the first time that we were not allowed to get in to get some video shots. I didn’t know whose order was it,” said Jaworski Alipon of ABS-CBN.

Some CCVM members said Comar gave the order to bar entry of local media in the fire scene, which he denied. “No, I did not order that. It may come from the one in charge of the crowd control,” Comar said.

Cebu City Mayor Michael Rama was unhappy about the incident.

“It’s unfortunate that it occurred, there is no such thing as ‘media is not allowed,” Rama said. He said it could have been a case of miscommunication.

A second fire later hit the house owned by Anabel Gemino at Sunshine Valley at the boundary of Quiot and Punta Princessa near the Don Bosco Technological school at 5:10 p.m.

A witness said youngsters who played volleyball near the house noticed a house on fire.

“It was raining, sir, so there was a lot of mud. The youngsters threw mud at the house to put out the fire,” said one witness.

The damage was estimated at P30,000. Fire investigators are still looking at the cause of the blaze. /Edison A. Delos Angeles, Correspondent

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