Photo courtesy of Dang Arches

DAVAO CITY, Philippines — At least 81 families were left homeless after a fire razed a residential area in Buhangin district here on Wednesday, Nov. 1.

City Social Services and Development Office (CSSDO) head Maria Luisa Bermudo said the fire affected 63 house owners, 16 renters, two sharers, and five boarders in Zone 5 Purok Mahayag in Buhangin, this city.

“We counted the house owners, renters and sharers to get the total number of affected families,” she said. Affected families are temporarily sheltered at the barangay gymnasium.

The fire broke past 5 p.m and was put out around 6:15 p.m on the same day.

Senior Fire Office 1 Ramil Gillado of the Bureau of Fire Region 11 said they are currently looking on a number of possible causes of the fire.

Initial investigation conducted by the BFP reported that the fire started at the house of Rizalino Monleon “allegedly due to unattended lighted candle.”

But Gillado said further investigations revealed that some witnesses saw the fire started from the kitchen side of the house. He said the homeowner is not also confirming whether indeed he has left a lighted candle at home.

“Based on the accounts of Monleon’s live-in partner, Dolor Villanueva, she has just finished cooking around 5 pm and left the house around 5:20 pm,” Gillado told Davao Today in a phone interview Thursday, November 2.

Gillado added that the house was left unattended and unlocked.

Bermudo said the city government has put up its “Kusina ng Bayan” (community kitchen) to provide meals for the family. Non-food items including beddings were also distributed.

She said they are still ongoing with the validation and assessment and will also distribute cash assistance. Each house owner will receive P10,000, renters will receive P5,000 and boarders will get P2,000.(

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