FIERY SUMMER: Bedridden septuagenarians killed in two house fires

A 71-year-old woman was killed in a fire at Barangay Sta. Rosa, Mandurriao, Iloilo City Wednesday. (Photo courtesy of Federation Fire)

By Jennifer P. Rendon

The Bureau of Fire Protection (BFP) has warned the public of sudden conflagrations which could result in damage to property and loss of lives.

The three recent fires in the city and province of Iloilo proved the importance of being careful amid the sweltering summer.

Two elderly persons died in separate house fires in Iloilo on March 22.

Police identified the victims as Thomas White, 72, of Barangay Botong, Oton, Iloilo; and Lea Fernandez, 71, of Barangay Sta. Rosa, Mandurriao, Iloilo City.

White, who was also blind, was allegedly trapped inside his house when the fire broke out past 2 p.m. Wednesday.

Senior Fire Office 4 (SFO4) Reggie Simeon, chief of the Intelligence and Investigation Section of the Oton Fire Station, said the fire was reported to their office at 2:10 p.m.

When they responded at the scene four minutes later, White’s house was already totally engulfed with fire since it was made of light materials.

It spread and gobbled another house and partially damaged another.

The fire was quelled at 3:04 p.m.

Simeon said White had been living by himself and was being tended to by a nephew who lived next door.

The victim’s wife and child are allegedly living abroad.

Simeon said that they were still investigating the cause of fire, but it appeared that it was accidental.

Damage to property was pegged at P306,165.

Meanwhile, members of the Iloilo City Fire Station received another fire call around 7:42 p.m.

Just like White, Fernandez was also alone and got trapped inside their home.

According to her brother, Marianito Fernandez Jr., the victim was by herself as they went to a relative’s wake in Jaro, Iloilo City.

Firefighters recovered Fernandez’s body underneath the debris of their two-storey home which was made of light materials.

Fire out was declared at 8:20 p.m.

An adjacent house and store were also destroyed while another house was damaged.

Chief Inspector Vencie Jojo Aldeguer, Iloilo City fire marshal, said they’re still investigating the cause of fire.

Before that, another fire broke out at a relocation site in Barangay Lanit, Jaro.

The fire that started at around 3: 30 p.m. razed six houses and damaged four others.

The fire was put off at 4:02 p.m.

Aldeguer said that an electrical fan that had been running for some time triggered the fire.