CEBU - Over 500 houses were razed in Barangay Tipolo, Mandaue City Thursday, causing around P1.3M worth of damage, according to Bureau of Fire Protection(BFP).
The fire reportedly left 1,000 families homeless, which forced the local government to declare a state of calamity.
Aside from the houses of the affected families, the Tipolo National High School was also damaged, including its Grade 7, Grade 8, "beauty care" rooms, and other properties.
According to BFP, the fire started around 1 a.m. and it had already spread when firefighters came to the scene.
The blaze grew larger after two hours which forced BFP to raise the alarm to Task Force Bravo, which prompted firefighters in the BFP provincial district to respond.
BFP said the fire was declared under control at around 5:35 am but too much damage had already been done.
A charging cellphone, which was left by its owner, caused the blaze, according to authorities.
Firefighters had trouble responding to the blaze as the road leading to the area was too narrow for their trucks.
Resident Marjorie Lunday said she lived there for 30 years and did not experience a situation like it before.
"Tatlumpong taon na ako dito. Kinabahan talaga ako. Nanginig pa nga ako. Ngayon pa lang ako nakaranas ng ganito," Lunday said.
According to Mandaue City Vice Mayor Carlo Fortuna, social welfare services has listed the affected families and will give them cash assistance.
"[Mainam] ang declaration sa state of calamity para ma-ibigay natin ang cash assistance. Usually ten thousand pesos for the owners and ten thousand for the renters," Fortuna said.
The vice mayor said that aside from cash assistance, the families also received food, water, hygiene kits and clothes, as well as cash for housing materials.
The affected families have taken shelter at the Cebu Convention Center. - Leleth Romeguera, ABS-CBN News