300 houses go up in smoke in Cebu

Published November 27, 2021, 3:54 PM

by Calvin Cordova 

CEBU CITY – At least 300 houses were destroyed when a fire broke out in a densely populated area in Barangay Mambaling here on Friday, November 26.

Fulbert Navaro, investigator of the Cebu City Fire Department, said the fire started at 5:06 p.m. at the rented room of Rolly Siso, 39.

Siso, a former inmate, was mauled by his neighbors who accused him of deliberately burning his room.

Siso was taken to the hospital after he sustained a gunshot wound in the body. He also had bruises and lacerations in different parts of the body.

Police were not able to identify who shot Siso.

The incident also became controversial when Cebu City South District Rep. Rodrigo Abellanosa alleged that firefighters were not able to respond immediately after their fire trucks were used during the burial of Mayor Edgardo Labella.

Several fire trucks were seen stationed along the funeral procession to render a water salute for the departed mayor.

“The readiness to respond to emergency has been hampered. It is unlawful to use public emergency facilities like firetrucks for purposes other than saving lives and properties. Responsible city government officials should not have allowed this in the first place. It is not in accord with Republic Act 10121,” Abellanosa said in a Facebook post.

Abellanosa said his intention was to call out the organizers’ decision to use the fire trucks and not to question or dishonor the tribute given to Labella.

City Councilor Dave Tumulak denied that the presence of fire trucks in the funeral procession caused a delay in the firefighters’ response.

According to the fire department, fire trucks were already in the area about six minutes after the fire broke out. At least 40 fire trucks responded to the fire.

The fire was placed under control at 7:12 p.m. and was totally put out at 7:24 p.m.

Mayor Michael Rama has urged the City Council to hold a special session on Sunday, Nov. 28, so that a state of calamity will be declared in the area that will lead to the release of budget needed to assist the fire victims.