‘So hot it felt like hell’

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Wednesday, March 19, 2014

IN A matter of minutes, live-in partners Jerry Pagaran and Jessica Muñez lost their house inside the old Lorega Cemetery in Sitio Kamanse during last Tuesday’s blaze that ate up hundreds of structures in more than five sitios of Barangay Lorega.

“Napareha na ug impiyerno ang among lugar sa kainit. Dali ra gyod kaayo nga naka-katap sa mga balay ang kayo (Our place felt like hell because of the heat. The fire spread too quickly),” Muñez told Sun.Star Cebu.

Majority of the houses inside the cemetery, including the old graves, were destroyed.


However, the medium-rise, condominium-type socialized housing built by Gawad Kalinga in the public cemetery was spared because of its firewall.

Muñez, 32, is six months pregnant with her fifth child.

She was cooking dinner when she noticed the fire in her neighbors’ house, which was beside their two-story house made of light materials.

Four families were in their house, including her live-in partner’s parents.

“Nisyagit ko aron pahibaw-on akong bana nga naay sunog, gipakuha nako ang bata aron makagawas (I screamed and asked my partner to get the children),” Muñez added.

She said her children, including her two nieces, were already in their house from school when the fire broke. Her live-in partner found both on the second floor and grabbed them to escape from the fire.

Muñez sustained bruises and scratches after struggling to escape from the fire scene.

Since the fire spread quickly, Muñez and Pagaran were not able to grab anything from their house.

“Wa na gyod matabang ang kayo bisan sige ug paagas ug tubig among mga silingan. Wa na lang mi maghunahuna sa among mga butang kay ang among gisiguro nga ma pawng unta ang kayo pero dako naman kaayo mao nga ang mga bata na lang among gi-safety (The fire was unstoppable despite our just letting the water flow. We didn’t think of our things, we just wanted the fire out, but since it was already too big, we had to run for safety),” Pagaran said.

Ronald Loquinerio, 35 of Sitio Kamanse was among those who fought to put off the fire.

Loquinerio, who is a Barangay Environment Officer (BEO), said he and his neighbors used his water supply to help the firefighters control the fire, but failed.

“I jumped onto the neighbor’s roof so I could go out and escape the fire,” he told Sun. Star Cebu in Cebuano.

After what happened, both Muñez and Loquinerio do not want to blame anyone for the fire.

They said it already happened and calamities such as fire are unavoidable if one is not too careful. The two are both grateful, though, that the City is addressing their needs and hope that it will do the same in helping them rebuild their homes if they will still be allowed to return to their areas.

If not, they will ask the City for relocation.

Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on March 20, 2014.

Local news

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