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P2-M damage after QC fire, residents struggle to rebuild lives

by Aileen Cerrudo   |   Posted on Thursday, March 21st, 2019

Several residents of Brgy. Damayang Lagi in Quezon City rummage through ashes and burnt debris after a fire broke out on Wednesday.

It was their home, or what’s left of it.

The Bureau of Fire Protection (BFP) said 750 families were affected by the fire, with P2.5 million worth of damage.

These residents still returned, hoping that there might still be something left to save. With the slate burnt to ashes, they have to rebuild their lives once again.

Paulino Yberzaba, a resident, lined up in the barangay office because he was suffering from high blood pressure. Even if he is in a wheelchair, he still patiently waited for medical assistance.

He was wearing unmatched slippers.

“Itong tsinelas ko tingnan mo, (look at my slippers)” he pointed out. “Hindi ko nakita ang kabila nito. Madilim na, (I could’t find the right pair because it was already dark)

Paulino was not able to save anything from the fire, just the clothes on his back.

Only a stone wall is left of his home, but still, he is thankful because his wife and children are safe. However, Paulino laments the difficulty of starting anew.

“Kung mayroon makatulong. Ako baldado na ko. [walang perang] maibili ng gamit, (if there is someone that can help. I am already disabled and we have no money to buy clothes)” he adds.

A doctor, several nurses and midwives visited the area to assist residents in need of medical attention. Food and water assistance were also distributed.

“Mayroon nang mga na-high blood, may mga ubo’t sipon, nilalagnat, inuubo. May mga nasugatan (Some [residents] are suffering from high blood pressure, other have colds and fever. Others are injured)” Jocelyn Ledanga, a midwife, said.

As of this writing, the local government has provided more than 10 temporary shelters for the victims. Said shelters can accommodate two to four families each.

READ: #ThinkFireSafetyNow: Worst Fire Incidents in the Philippines

Another resident, Zoraina Mamasalen, is content with the help of the government.

“Okay naman po. Maayos naman po iyong assist ng barangay kapitan po namin, (Things are alright. Our barangay captain is assisting properly)” she said.

Zoraina is among the residents who were able to stay at these temporary shelters. Others, however, are not so lucky.

There are no proper evacuation centers that can accommodate all the residents affected by the fire. Some of them had no choice but to stay in the streets, with nothing to do but wait for help to arrive.

The relief and cash assistance that are meant for these residents, however, were taken by individuals posing as victims of the fire.

Barangay Captain, Boy Tanyag said financial assistance range from P1,000 to P2,000 or more. But there are individuals who list themselves as victims in order to avail of these aid.

“Isang pamilya lang. Nagpapalista limang tao. (In one family, there are five individuals who register)” he said.

The BFP continues investigation on the cause of fire. They said it might be due to problems in the power lines.

Meanwhile, the government continues to call for aid to help the victims rebuild their lives.—Aileen Cerrudo (with reports from Mai Bermudez)

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Several feared dead in fire at Japan animation studio

by Robie de Guzman   |   Posted on Thursday, July 18th, 2019

A large plume of smoke is seen coming out of the animation studio that caught fire in Kyoto, Japan. | Courtesy: Reuters

Several people are feared dead after a fire at an animation studio in the Japanese city of Kyoto on Thursday (July 18) and police are investigating a possible arson attack, authorities and local media reported.

The fire at the Kyoto Animation studio injured more than 30 people, 10 of them seriously, and one person has been confirmed dead, a spokesman for the Kyoto City Fire Department said.

Several people were confirmed dead at the site, public broadcaster NHK reported, citing police. A Kyoto police spokesman was unable to immediately confirm the report when contacted by Reuters.

Police have taken into custody a man who poured what appeared to be gasoline around the studio, NHK said.

The studio produces the “Sound! Euphonium” series and its “Free! Road to the World – The Dream” movie is due for release this month. (REUTERS)

(Production: Akiko Okamoto, Yiming Woo)

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Fire, torrential rain batter Greece, leave 7 dead

by Robie de Guzman   |   Posted on Friday, July 12th, 2019

Aircraft putting out fire, ruined stuff, damaged cars & scattered belongings | Courtesy : Reuters

At least five fires have southern Greece alight on Wednesday afternoon due to high temperatures and gale force winds, while at the same time a strong storm hit northern Greece leaving seven people dead, dozens injured and a fisherman missing, as well as losses or damages to properties.

On Wednesday afternoon, at least five fires triggered either by high temperatures or gale force winds swept across the Peloponnese Peninsula, Attica Peninsula, Lamia Bay, and Evia Peninsula.

The disasters were finally controlled before night fell due to the joint efforts of firefighters on the ground and planes in the air.

However, in northern Greece, another extreme weather phenomenon took the baton and threatened people in the north.

The extreme weather caused seven people, six of whom confirmed as tourists from Russia, Czech and Romania on vacation in the country, dead and the unidentified victim is said likely to be a local fisherman. The storm darkened the doorstep of the Chalkidiki Peninsula in northern Greece, and the country’s second largest city Thessaloniki.

“The grill and the iron plate for the barbecue were blown off there. The pavilion there also fell down. The cars were crushed,” said Despoina, a resident in Chalkidiki.

The damages brought by the first freak storm in 30 years was huge, though it only lasted half an hour.

“We have been living here for 25 years, but we have never seen this,” said Despoina.

The power supply in the northern coastal areas and trains running between Thesalloniki and Alexandroupoli, another coastal city in the north, were cut off.

The 22 injured people have been sent to a local hospital, with nine of them suffering fractures to varying degrees. (REUTERS)

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Father, daughter die in La Union fire

by Aileen Cerrudo   |   Posted on Wednesday, May 29th, 2019

Personnel from the Bureau of Fire recover the remains of the fire victims

A 6-year-old girl was trapped inside their home after a fire broke out in Barangay Sta. Rita East in Aringay town, La Union on Monday (May 27).

Her father Jeffrey Estoril, 36, rushed inside their home to save her upon realizing his daughter could be trapped .

According to Barangay Sta. Rita East chairman Hilario Domenden, Jeffery was not able to endure the heat.

“Iyong mama niya gusto pumasok doon pero hindi niya kaya kasi talagang malakas na [iyong apoy]. Iyong papa niya alam niya na nandoon iyong anak nila kaya siya ang pumasok doon pero hindi niya nakayanan iyong mainit na apoy kaya pati iyong ama nasunog din, (The mother wanted to rush inside but the fire was too big. [Jeffery] was the one who rushed inside but he was unable to endure the heat),” he said.

Jeffery was unable to locate his daughter. He was rushed to the hospital but was declared dead after sustaining second degree burns.

The Bureau of Fire Protection (BFP) said the fire lasted for two hours and caused P300,000 to P400,000 worth of damage.—(with reports from Toto Fabros)

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