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Fire swept through the interior of two barangays of Carreta and Tejero, destroying about 150 houses at noon yesterday.

It was the biggest recorded fire of the year in Cebu City after the Aug. 9 fire in T. Padilla, which destroyed over 100 houses, officials said.

Most of the victims yesterday were low-income and middle-income families living in crowded neighborhoods where fire trucks couldn’t enter due to narrow access roads. No lives were lost based on initial reports. A 17-year-old boy hurt his leg when a hollow block fell on him. A fireman also collapsed from the fumes.

The road was also blocked by residents scampering to save their belongings. “If the road was clear, the firefighters could have entered the area faster,” said Alvin Santillana of the Cebu City Risk Reduction Management Council.

Part of the Carreta Elementary School, about six houses away, was also burned, but classes were quickly dismissed and students were evacuated.

Alfredo Jumao-as, school property custodian, said he rang the alarm bell when he noticed thick smoke coming from adjacent houses. Fire drills practiced earlier by pupils and teachers in June helped their reaction time.

Carreta barangay captain Eduardo “Boy” Lauron said most of the houses were made of light materials and that many residents were squatters. Strong winds caused the fire to easily spread to at least three sitios of the adjacent barangay Tejero. Sitos Sambag, Laurente and Terakora were affected, said Tejero Councilor Gary Lao.