A massive fire gutted around 60 houses in Barayco, Purok 2, Bankerohan Riverside, Barangay 5-A, Davao City at a little before 11 a.m. yesterday.
One civilian was reportedly injured but no casualty was reported.
Senior Fire Officer 2 Ramil Gillado, the chief Investigation of Bureau of Fire and Protection XI, said the fire started at the house of Annie Balaga, for still unknown reasons.
He said the fire escalated quickly to the nearby houses, mostly shanties that are made of light materials. People, meanwhile, had to scramble to safety, including jumping down from the concrete dike and into the riverbank below.
They could only watch helplessly while the strong wind fanned the flames.
Central 911 firefighters and volunteers immediately responded to the scene. They declared a fire-out at 11:53 a.m.
Gillado said they are still investigating the probable cause, but the estimated damage reached P630,000.
When the smoke cleared, the victims went back to the razed houses in the hopes of salvaging some of their belongings. Most went away disappointed, greeted by a pile of debris and half-erected walls, a harsh reminder of the destructive force of fire.
A little past noon, some of the victims queued for food at the nearby emergency mobile kitchen of the City Social Welfare and Development Office. The city government is already preparing cash and food assistance for the families.
The standard cash aid by the local government is P10,000 for totally damaged houses and P5,000 for partially destroyed properties.