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5 hurt in fire

11 houses destroyed in Bulacao, Cebu city

At least five persons, including a 10-year-old girl who was nearly crushed by a speeding fire truck, were hurt in a fire that destroyed at least 11 houses in  barangay Bulacao,  Cebu City yesterday afternoon.

The fire marshal said investigators are verifying reports that children of the owner of the house where the fire reportedly started were playing with matches.

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Residents said the house owner, Marilou Ouano,  left her children at home as she went to work as a manicurist.

Ten-year-old Jessa Althea Saducas was rushed to Miller  Sanitarium  after she was sideswiped by a passing fire truck.

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Fire investigator  FO3 Emiliano Dano Jr. said the girl was trapped between a parked motorcycle and the fire truck.

“She was squeezed in between. The  driver failed to see her, but the kid is now in stable condition,” he said.

The litte girl complained of pain in her right elbow.

James Villamero, 25 was taken to the Cebu City Medical Center after he fell from the roof.

Acting Cebu City fire marshal, Inspector Jose Laurito said they received the alarm at 1:40 p.m.

The fire was placed under control in 25 minutes and was declared out at 2:54 p.m. Damage was estimated at P300,000.

Most of the injured suffered minor burns.

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Laurito said they had a hard time operating in sitio Laguna because the  fire started in the middle of the community whose streets and alleys were too narrow to accommodate fire trucks. He said the fire struck 300 meters away from the main road.

He said it was difficult to penetrate the narrow roads.

“Only our mini fire trucks could get through,” he said.

Classes were disrupted at the Bulacao Community School  about 50 meters away.

Marife Arnol, who teaches kindergarten classes, said, they were holding make-up classes when the fire struck.

Gingging Belcina, whose house was among those razed, was crying her heart out as she watched firefighters put out the flames.

She had just finished construction work in the house two months ago.

Resident Diosdado Dacalus, who suffered burns in the arms and back, said he was sleeping when he heard his grandchildren shout “Sunog! (Fire!).”

The 69-year-old said he immediately dragged his  grandchildren out of the house before it was overrun by flames.

“Init na gyud kaayo, paspas kaayo ang kayo (The heat became unbearable. The  flames spread very fast),” Dacalus said.

Macaria Bartobalac, 74,  and her grandchildren were resting at home when the fire broke out. “We were just chatting inside the house when we suddenly noticed thick smoke,” she said in Cebuano.

They  rushed out without bringing along any belongings.

“This is the only thing I was able to bring out,” Bartobalac said pointing to her dress./with a report from correspondent Edison A. Delos Angeles

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