3 perish in early morning fire in Iloilo City

ILOILO CITY — A 74-year-old woman and two of her young grandchildren died in a fire that reportedly broke out at their residence in Barangay M.H. del Pilar Zone 2 in Jaro district this city early Friday.

Based on initial investigation, the blaze started at the home of Natividad Panonciano and spread to four other houses, Bureau of Fire Protection (BFP) – Iloilo City Fire Marshall, Chief Insp. Christopher Regencia said. The BFP placed the cost of damage at PHP400,000.

“We are looking at two angles based on the testimonies of our witnesses. It could be due to unattended candle or electrical wiring,” he said.

Panonciano and her two young grandchildren, Ivan and Eman Apongol, died when they were unable to escape the burning house as their gate and main door were locked. The house was also surrounded by barbed wires, Regencia said.

He added they had to cut the lock of the gate and forcibly break the main door just to get inside the burning house.

“Because it’s too dark we could not locate their exact location inside the house. During that time, probably they were already suffocated because when we saw their bodies, they were already burned,” Regencia said.

Both parents of the children are working abroad and the two were left in the care of their grandmother, he said.

The fire, which started at 3 a.m., also totally burned the houses of Rolando Arguilles and Zenaida Ruiz and partially damaged those owned by Editha Jeruta and Milagros Sibag.

The BFP declared the fire under control at 4:06 a.m. and fire out at 5:15 a.m.

Regencia said BFP men have been making the rounds in the city since Oct. 27 for the public to be aware of fire safety tips before leaving their houses to go to cemeteries in observance of “Undas”.

He added that monitoring of cemeteries continues. together with the Philippine National Police. Perla Lena/PNA-northboundasia.com