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1,600 families lose homes in Mandaluyong fire

BOYS scavenge for what is left of their homes after an eight-hour fire gutted 400 houses and injured 13 persons in Barangay Addition Hills, Mandaluyong City Friday afternoon. (Alvin Kasiban)

BOYS scavenge for what is left of their homes after an eight-hour fire gutted 400 houses and injured 13 persons in Barangay Addition Hills, Mandaluyong City Friday afternoon. (Alvin Kasiban)

It is going to be a bleak Christmas for at least 1,600 families who were rendered homeless by a huge fire that gutted a slum area in Mandaluyong City last Friday.

Supt. Christine Cula, city fire marshal, said the fire that struck the residential area on Martinez St. in Barangay Addition Hills started around 3 p.m. and was raised to Task Force Alpha, the sixth highest fire alarm level, over an hour later.

Cula said the blaze, which took firefighters eight hours to control and eventually put out, destroyed at least 400 houses, most of which were made out of light materials.

The fire was declared fire out at 11:44 p.m., the Bureau of Fire Protection said. Thirteen persons were injured in the fire, Cula added.

The origin and cause of the blaze, according to Cula, is still being investigated. Arson investigators are also still determining the damage to property from the fire.

Mandaluyong City Mayor Carmelita “Menchie” Abalos rushed to the scene and checked the condition of her affected constituents.

Jimmy Isidro, city public information chief, said that assistance will be given to fire-stricken families.

He added that the city government has set up at least eight evacuation centers and served meals to the affected residents.

“Hindi po pababayaan ng local na pamahalaan ang nga naapektuhan ng sunog,” Isidro assured. “Sa ngayon naga-assess pa kami para mabigyan ng tulong ang mga residente.”

The eight-hour long fire triggered memories of the huge blaze also in Barangay Addition Hills that reportedly left at least 1,200 families homeless in 2007.

“Parang isang panaginip na di ko maintindihan. Masakit!” a weeping Annabelle Sarsata said while holding her eight-year-old son who was diagnosed with cerebral palsy in her arms.

Sarsata said her family was among the victims of that fire that destroyed around 400 shanties at Welfareville Compound in April 2007.

“Kasi pangalawang sunog na po yan eh, nasunogan din po kami nung 2007 din. Wala din po kaming nailigtas,” she recalled. (Jhon Aldrin Casinas)

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