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16 dead in Bacolod City blaze

By Francis Allan L. Angelo and Edgar Cadagat

IT was a deadly All Souls’ Day in Bacolod City after a 3-hour blazed killed 16 persons, including several children, and gutted down more than more than 50 houses at Brgy. 19 early Monday morning.

Reports from the Bureau of Fire Prevention (BFP) in Bacolod City said the blaze started in a 2-storey boarding house owned by a certain Morita Depakakibo past 1am yesterday.

The fire, which reportedly originated from an unattended candle, spread to nearby shanties mostly made of light materials.

Fire S/Insp. Pamela Candido, BFP-Bacolod City chief, said 14 bodies were initially dug up from the area of the boarding house. Three more badly-burned bodies were recovered in the mopping up operations.

A report by Bombo Radyo-Bacolod identified 16 fatalities: Eduarda Abejero, Napolen Abejero, Nikka Amelda, Joselito Carbajosa, Carl Joshua Celiz, Analiza Celiz, Ada Pauline Celiz, Novie Chavez, Dee Jay Chavez, Jenelyn Demandar, Junifer Demandar, Joshua Demandar, Jocelyn Ninio, Roel Ninio and Rosemarie Ninio.

All casualties were tenants of Depakakibo’s boarding house.

An unidentified person was injured during the blaze.

A total of 58 houses were gutted while 3 were partially burned, according to initial reports from the BFP.

Some of the casualties were seen hugging each other, reports from RMN and Bombo-Radyo Bacolod said.

BFP investigators surmised that the victims who died failed to immediately wake up and escape the fire as they were tired after visiting the cemeteries on All Saints’ Day.

Some of the fatalities may have died in the stampede that happened as the fire spread in the houses.

“The (boarding) house was made of light materials. It seems that the house was congested, did not have a permit (to operate) and did not have the necessary safety precautions in case of fire,” Candido said in an ABS-CBN interview.

Arson probers have yet to ascertain the actual cost of the conflagration.

The fire also displaced more or less 60 families who are now staying in a gymnasium and an elementary school.

The tragedy has reached the attention of President Gloria Arroyo who ordered the Department of Social Welfare and Development to assist the victims.

The Bacolod City government and other local leaders also provided assistance to the affected residents.

In Kalibo, Aklan, a two-hour fire razed more than 400 shanties in Barangay Poblacion, Kalibo, Aklan on Saturday, leaving some 2,000 people homeless.

The fire started on C. Laserna Street around 2 p.m. and quickly spread in the squatters’ colony, the BFP-Kalibo said.

BFP authorities said 1,204 individuals from 255 families sought refuge at the Augusto D. Legaspi sports complex since Monday.

July 2020

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