Boracay fire toll: market, 100 houses
ILOILO CITY—While the entire wet market of Boracay Island in Aklan province and 100 houses had been destroyed in a fire on Wednesday, residents are heaving a sigh of relief that the fire struck during the day.
It took firefighters 16 hours to put out the fire in Sitio Mangayad, Barangay (village) Manoc-Manoc, due to lack of roads leading to the fire scene and the difficulty of getting inside because of houses being built close to each other. Several residents suffered minor burns.
“Fortunately, the fire happened during the day when most of the residents were working. It could have been worse if it happened at night and they were asleep,” said Abram Sualog, village chief of Manoc-Manoc, the biggest of three villages in Boracay with a population of about 16,000.
Fire Insp. Stephen Jardeleza, chief of the Bureau of Fire Protection (BFP) in Boracay, said the fire broke out in one of the houses around 2:50 p.m. on Wednesday and quickly spread to neighboring houses and the wet market, popularly known as “Talipapa Bukid” because it sits on a hill.
The fire was put out past 7 a.m. on Thursday.
“We had difficulty (fighting the fire) because the affected area is hilly. The road ends about 150 meters from the site,” Jardeleza said.
The firemen connected several hoses to reach the area but they were frustrated by low water pressure.
“There were areas we could not reach because of the elevation and congestion,” Jardeleza said.
Several residents of Boracay posted messages on social media sites, calling for stricter enforcement of building regulations to ensure adequate roads and other access lanes in times of fire and other calamities.
FO3 Franklin Arrobang, chief arson investigator of Boracay, said investigators are still determining the cause of the fire.
“The fire spread quickly because of strong winds,” Arrobang said.
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