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Las Pinas fire razes houses of 1,000 families.

Around 1,000 families were left homeless after a five-hour-long fire hit two communities in Las Pinas early on Wednesday, in the middle of the country's observance of Fire Prevention Month.

Strong winds, inadequate water supply, and narrow alleys worsened the fire in Laong Compound, Barangay Almanza Uno and eventually spreading to neighboring Sampaguita Compound in Barangay Pilar Village.

In a report by Senior Insp. Pena Borlad, ground commander of the Bureau of Fire Protection of Las Pinas, the fire started at 2:54 a.m. in the house of Marilyn Cura in Phase 1 of Laong Compound while she was cooking rice using firewood.

The fire which reached the fifth alarm around 5 a.m., eventually spread to other houses of informal settlers at the back of a mall compound, mostly made of light materials.

The fire was put out at 7:02 a.m., with 575 houses destroyed and estimated damage to properties at P1.5 million.

A man sustained light burns in his arm after he tried to salvage his properties from the fire. Another man fell unconscious after he witnessed his house burned down.

Arson investigator FO1 Rizaldo Aguitan said they had difficulty putting out the fire because of narrow streets leading to the compound and inaccessibility of fire hydrants.

The affected families were currently staying at the covered court of the two barangays. The local government is set to give out cash assistance to them. The razed areas will also be mapped out to ensure that families can safely return.

'We urge homeowners to have extra effort and never leave anything being cooked on the stove unattended, especially those using firewood,' Aguitan said.

March is declared Fire Prevention Month under Presidential Proclamation No. 115-A, signed in 1966 by then President Ferdinand Marcos.

It aims to promote education and awareness to lessen fire incidents in the country.

However, a total of 172 fires broke out just in the first five days of March, mostly in Metro Manila, according to BFP. /je

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Publication:Philippines Daily Inquirer (Makati City, Philippines)
Date:Mar 14, 2018
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