Three young siblings die in Iloilo house fire

By Jennifer P. Rendon

A house fire in the rural area of Maasin, Iloilo, on the night of July 3 claimed the lives of three young siblings.

The victims, a 6-year-old boy, a 5-year-old girl, and a 1-year-old boy, could not escape the flames. The older children were believed to be unable to walk, possibly due to polio.

Their other siblings, a 12-year-old girl and an 8-year-old girl, managed to get out of the house with their youngest sibling.

Senior Fire Officer 3 Lyra Villafranca, acting municipal fire marshal of the Bureau of Fire Protection in Maasin, said the three sustained burn injuries and were rushed by their parents to Federico Roman Tirador Sr. Memorial District Hospital in Janiuay town.

However, the youngest of the five children died while undergoing treatment.

The two older children were later transferred to Western Visayas Medical Center in Iloilo City.

Villafranca reported that they received the fire call around 10:46 p.m. on Wednesday.

“According to residents, they heard popping and crackling sounds around 10:20 p.m. We presume the fire started around 10 p.m.,” she said.

When firefighters arrived at Barangay Dalusan, a village about 12 kilometers from the town proper, the house was already reduced to ashes.

Villafranca noted that the fire truck couldn’t reach the area due to lack of access for a four-wheel vehicle. The house was situated on a hilly portion about 400 meters from the municipal road.

Reports indicate that the parents had left the children alone to attend a neighbor’s wake 200 meters away from their home.

Their mother, Michelle, said she was informed by a relative that their house was on fire.

In tears, Michelle blamed herself for the tragedy, admitting she had burned dry leaves and wood to create a “dabok” to ward off mosquitoes.

She placed the fire pit near the stairs of their house, which was made of light materials, and admitted she didn’t extinguish it before leaving to join her husband, Arnel.

Michelle also revealed that her husband discouraged her from going to the wake since no adult was left to take care of the children.

Villafranca said it is highly possible the fire was caused by an unattended backyard smoke pit, but they are also investigating other potential causes.


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