Saturday, 04 June 2011 18:02
Millions of pesos worth of properties were razed to the ground in a fire that hit the capital town of Jolo, Sulu, Wednesday shortly before noon, according to a police report.
At least 40 houses, including an Islamic School (turas) owned by Ustadz Rakib were turned into ashes while 4 other buildings were slightly damaged in the 3-hour
conflagration at the busy Serantes Street, Barangay Walled City where dozens of families were rendered homeless, the police said.
Jolo Municipal Hussin Amin said personnel from his office have immediate rushed to the scene of the incident and gave relief assistance to some 60 families who have fled their burning homes.
Amin said that "because it was a windy day, the fire spread so swiftly and easily to the nearby structures." Badly damaged is the Islamic school. Amin reported.
Among the partially damaged structures was another school, the Administration building of Southern Mindanao Islamic Institute owned by the late Sulu Grand Imam Yacub Ismi, one of the local colleges in Jolo town. The fire was put out at 2:45 in the afternoon.
Victims of the burning have evacuated and are temporarily housed in evacuation centers while some are with their relatives in nearby barangays.
An estimated value of over 2 million pesos worth of properties went up in smoke, the mayor said.
Investigation disclosed that fire originated in an abandoned residential house of certain Kamlaka Idan while the cause of the fire remains undetermined as of press time.
The Jolo police office personnel who rushed to the scene of the incident said that no one was reportedly injured. The police remain on heightened security alert with the help of military elements in the area.
Meanwhile, unconfirmed reports reaching the authorities revealed that the abandoned house where the fire broke out was being used earlier as warehouse or bodega to stockpile flammable materials like gasoline imported from Sandakan, Sabah, Malaysia.
However, the mayor said the intelligence report also revealed that the abandoned house was being used as "pot session" rendezvous of drug pushers and users, who have their drug transactions thereat.
The mayor ordered a thorough probe on the real cause of the calamity. Initial relief assistance was extended to displaced fire victims by the municipal and provincial governments, the report added.
By Faber Concepcion
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