10-year-old boy killed, five hurt in Ermita fire
A 10-year-old boy died while four were injured in a nearly two-hour fire that destroyed more than 100 stalls and homes in sitio Warwick Barracks in barangay Ermita, Cebu City.
The fire started at 10:38 a.m. and displaced at least 400 persons.
SPO1 Rey Cuyos of the Carbon police station identified the fatality as Jerry Concha but barangay Ermita councilman Ryan Jay Rosas said the victim’s name was Jerry Jumog.
The boy’s charred remains were found by his relatives at past 2 p.m. or over three hours after the fire erupted.
The boy worked nights at his uncle’s store and sleps during the day said investigator SFO2 Daniel Relatado.
Yesterday’s downpour was of no help to firefighters as strong winds fanned the flames and caused it to spread to adjacent houses.
Stalls of light materials and houses were razed across the street from the Carbon Police Station and at the back of Freedom Park.
Four of the five injured people were identified as 22-year-old Antonia Sy, 18-year-old Gina Mae Bahina, 50-year-old Bedasta Condinan and 72-year-old Romeo dela Cerna. They were given first aid treatment by paramedics from the Emergency Rescue Unit Foundation (ERUF).
Sy was brought to the Chong Hua Hospital, while Bahina and Condinan were brought to the Cebu City Medical Center. Dela Serna opted not to be admitted for treatment.
Property damage was placed at P1 million.
Among those who lost their homes was 38-year-old Jocelyn Mata.
She said she saved her seven children first before recovering her belongings. Her husband, a garbage collector, was not around when the fire struck.
Kate Bauncit and her three siblings were attending a make-up class in Bliss, Labangon when they heard that their house was on fire. They were picked up by their father in school just as the smoke rose from the fire scene.
Josefina Jaime, a 61-year-old vendor, only managed to save her Sto. Niño image from her stall.
“Kini and akong gi-una aku kini ra sab siya ang mobalik og tukod og tindahan nako diha (I prioritized this because I can always rebuild my store),” she said.
Jaime, a resident of barangay Talamban said she just arrived from buying groceries for her store at a downtown mall when she saw other vendors scampering to safety.
She said she went inside her grocery store and took the image of the Sto. Niño.
When she lined up to be identified as a fire victim inside the barangay Ermita gym, Jaime was still carrying the Sto. Niño image. “Di nako ni siya ibuwag (I won’t part with it),” she said.
State of calamity
Despite her misfortune, Jaime is still happy especially since she will celebrate her 62nd birthday on Tuesday, Jan. 14.
Power was cut off in some parts of barangay Carbon during the fire.
Chief Insp. Noel Lomente, Carbon police precinct chief, said they are verifying reports that the fire was caused by illegal wire tapping.
He said they invited Jeffrey Dalogdog for questioning to verify reports that the fire started at his home.
Barangay Ermita officials held an emergency session yesterday afternoon to declare a state of calamity in the barangay.
They set aside P100,000 from their calamity fund to help the victims who are housed in the barangay sports center.
Ermita barangay chairman Felicisimo Rupinta said they left the barangay councilors league elections early to hold the emergency session.
In the next two days, nobody will be allowed to rebuild in the area.
Rupinta said he will meet with Cebu City Mayor Michael Rama and the city’s quick response team at the mayor’s office at 9 a.m. today to discuss their plans for the area.
With Correspondents Jose Santino S. Bunachita and Bjorn Abraham Tabanera
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