ILOILO City – On the first day of year2020 fire razed a total of 20 houses in this city, Iloilo and Capiz provinces. Regencia said there were no fireincidents in the city since Dec. 24 and he hoped this would be sustained. Families living in all these affected houseseither moved to evacuation centers or sought shelter with relatives andfriends. Fire Officer III Franklin Arubang saidthe blaze started at around 7:30 p.m. in the property of Ruel Santillan who wasoperating a boardinghouse. According to Senior Fire Officer 4Aquilino Sampiono, the fire originated from the house of Melecoton and quicklyspread to nearby houses made of light material. BFP declared a “fire out” at around 10:28 a.m. “Mahiraptayong makapasok sa nasunugan [kasi] hilly at isolated. Maliit ang daan,brownout at halos 500 meters ang layo sa barangay road,” saidArubang, adding the strong winds from the Sibuyan Sea fanned the fire, causingthe flames to spread quickly. With the quick response of the Bureauof Fire Protection (BFP), the fire was extinguished in a little over 30minutes. In Boracay Island, Malay, Aklan firedamaged three houses four hours before 2019 came to a close. December last year BFP-Iloilo recordedfive fire incidents. (With a report fromAkean Forum/PN) Short circuit sparked the fire,according to the Guimbal fire station which estimated the property damage tohave reached P1.5 million. Five houses were gutted before firementotally extinguished the fire by around 4:30 p.m. Some five hours before the Iloilo Cityfire, a house went up in smoke 29 kilometers down south in Guimbal, Iloilo. Quick-responding firefighters of theGuimbal fire station contained the blaze from spreading and declared a fire outat around 6:05 a.m. There were no reported injuries ordeaths in these two New Year fires. In the famous holiday island resort ofBoracay four hours and 30 minutes before the clock struck 12, fire broke inSitio Tulubhan, Barangay Manoc-Manoc and razed three houses. As of this writing, the BFP was stillascertaining the cause of the fire and the damage incurred. “Mayisang bahay doon na walang tao dahil halos lahat nasa trabaho. Karamihan mga workers at boarders ang nakatira sa nasunugan,” Arubang said. In Capiz, fire struck a residentialarea in Barangay Ilaya, Pontevedra town at around 1:35 p.m. Fire gobbled up a two-storey house inBarangay Nanga, Guimbal at around 3:57 a.m. The totally destroyed house were ownedby Baquio Rogador, Totong Depra, Jonathan Gancia, Estrella Melecoton, JohnLibuna, Leonito Libuna, Elmer Macaya, Celso Conde, and Albert Compliza whilethe partially damaged ones were owned by Fred Marbebe, Florence Paglumutan,Andong Gallardo, and Keneth Rhoy Buenafe. The New Year blaze was electrical in nature, preliminary investigation of the Iloilo City Fire Station showed. Here, fire struck 14 houses in Zone 4,Barangay Sambag, Jaro district at around 9 a.m. yesterday. Ten of these houseswere totally gutted. BFP-Iloilo City had been on red alertsince Dec. 27. Two days before the New Yearcelebrations, the BFP in Iloilo City expressed hope there won’t be fireincidents. But just in case fire erupted, ChiefInspector Christopher Regencia, city fire marshal, said BFP-Iloilo City had 50fire officers and 12 fire trucks on standby to respond. These were on top of fire volunteerorganizations in the city, said Regencia. The BFP-Boracay substation, BoracayFire Rescue and Ambulance Volunteers, Boracay Island Water Company, BoracayTubi System Inc., and Kabalikat Civicom 961 Boracay responded to the fireincident. The fire left an estimated propertydamage of P150,000. Arson investigators of the BFP have yetto determine the cause of the blaze.