Fire hit a predominantly urban poor enclave along Calamba Street Extension at Barangay Talayan in Quezon City Friday morning, affecting some 700 families who lost their dwellings in a span of only four hours.
The community of mostly informal settlers were due for relocation by the Pasig River Rehabilitation Commission.
The fire was reportedly started by a drug addict, who, in a moment of lucidity gone astray after a spat with his mother, splashed paint on the house he was staying in before tossing a lighted candle to ignite the blaze.
A 66-year old man, Elpidio de la Cruz, perished in the fire after he valiantly tried to enter the shanty to try and bring out personal and household effects.
His distraught daughter, Rowena, could only mutter: “He was a sentimental person. It was unlike him not to try to salvage things that he considered important… Even when it gets flooded here, he would refuse to abandon the house or leave our things unattended.”
The Quezon City government, through its Social Services and Development Office, mobilized relief operations even before the fire could be declared under control.
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