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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.

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By Francis Allan L. Angelo

 

PROPERTIES worth P5 million went up in smoke when a fire hit a building that used to house one of the popular cinemas along Iznart Street, Iloilo City.

According to Fire C/Insp. Rodolfo Dinaga, Iloilo City fire marshal, the blaze hit Allegro Theater building 2:15am Friday.

Dinaga said the fire may have originated from a pile of trash near the theater stage located on the second floor of the building. Dinaga added they learned that workers welded portions of the building’s trusses Thursday evening.

Dinaga said they have yet to find out the cause of the fire although they were looking at faulty electric wirings or sparks from the welding machines.

The Bureau of Fire Protection (BFP) and fire volunteer groups quelled the fire in one hour while the mopping up operations lasted until 6:15am.

Dinaga said the fire spread quickly because the facade of the building was made of galvanized iron and ordinary plywood.

The BFP official said the fire gobbled up an estimated P5 million worth of merchandises owned by two Korean nationals and Ilonggo traders renting the building.

Dinaga said they are awaiting the affidavits of loss of the fire victims to determine the final amount of damage.

“It will take at least five days before we can determine the actual cause of fire,” he added.

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