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Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Makati fire renders 2,700 families homeless


Makati fire renders 2,700 families homeless

By ANNA LIZA T. VILLAS
April 19, 2011, 8:25pm
MANILA, Philippines -- More than 2,700 families were rendered homeless as fire swept through a depressed community in Barangay Guadalupe Viejo, Makati City at noon Tuesday.
Senior Fire Officer 2 Gerson Moncada of the Makati City Fire Station said 900 houses or 90 percent of the community at Laperal Compound located off the southbound lane of EDSA-Guadalupe went up in smoke in just two hours.
Based on initial investigation the fire which started at 12:01 p.m. originated from a house occupied by a certain “Michelle,” said Moncada.
He said arson probers suspect an electrical appliance such as a rice cooker or computer might have overheated and sparked the blaze.
The fire spread quickly to neighboring houses, mostly made of light materials, causing widespread panic.
The fire grew rapidly and damaged several large billboards located above the compound.
Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) rescue teams reported four residents injured and taken to the hospital.
Sonia Habigan, one of the residents of Laperal Compound, said it was the fourth time that a fire hit their area, following two fires that happened last January and one other in June, 2008.
Habigan said she was not able to save any of her household appliances but still felt relieved that all her family members are safe.
Moncada said the fire was placed under control at 2:15 p.m. after reaching the general alarm.
Under general alarm, all fire trucks from all over Metro Manila are being summoned to respond to the incident. About 70-80 fire trucks surrounded the compound on EDSA, causing a monstrous traffic jam.
Makati City Mayor Jejomar Erwin Binay, who rushed to the area, said the city government will put up a tent on nearby Anapola Street to serve as a temporary shelter to those rendered homeless by the fire.
He said the area is a privately owned lot, and people are not suitable to reside in there.
“We cannot intervene because it is privately owned but we are planning to provide housing programs for the residents,” said Binay.
MMDA Chairman Francis Tolentino ordered a traffic rerouting in areas affected by the incident.

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