Mayor’s house, ancestral home gutted

The house and ancestral home of Mayor Renato Gustilo were among the structures gutted in a fire that broke out in Barangay 5, San Carlos City, Negros Occidental, on Friday. (Photo courtesy of San Carlos City, Negros Occidental LGU Information Facebook)

By Glazyl Y. Masculino

BACOLOD CITY – Arson is being eyed as a possible cause of the fire that gutted the house of Mayor Renato Gustilo, his grandparents’ ancestral home, and a school on Ylagan Street, Barangay 5, San Carlos City, Negros Occidental, last Friday.

The Bureau of Fire Protection (BFP)-San Carlos said they received a fire call around 3:40 p.m., but they could not provide further details yet, pending the investigation.

Gustilo said he was in Manila when he was informed of the incident. He then took the last flight back home that night.

According to Gustilo, the initial investigation indicated that the blaze originated from a stockroom of Daisy’s ABC School, an iconic Chinese school founded by the Chinese-Filipino Chamber of Commerce and Industry. The fire then spread to their house and ancestral home.

Gustilo said that a day after the incident, a man who was a former janitor at the school surfaced and confessed to being responsible for the fire, citing anger over his termination as the motive.

The man felt guilty after learning that the mayor’s house was also destroyed in the blaze, Gustilo said. The janitor surrendered and is now in police custody.

Gustilo stated that his family is temporarily sheltered at his sibling’s house while he looks for a rental place, as they lost everything in the fire. He mentioned that their house and ancestral home were built before he was born. Gustilo is now 64 years old.

The BFP declared the fire out at 6 p.m.