Tragic fire claims child, injures mother in Anilao

Photo Courtesy of Lee Ann Debuque FB page

By Jennifer P. Rendon

Struggling through tears, Garry Martinez, recounted the tragic loss of his 5-year-old son Ivan who perished in a blaze that ravaged their home in Barangay Badiang, Anilao, Iloilo, on the evening of March 19.

Garry and his wife, 30-year-old Jessa, had made a desperate attempt to save their son from the engulfing flames.

The couple and their children were asleep when a teenage niece, alerted by smoke, awoke them to the unfolding emergency.

The Martinez family, including the cultural minority Aeta community members, were quick to evacuate their house constructed from lightweight materials. It was only after exiting that Jessa realized Ivan remained trapped inside.

In a frantic effort to rescue Ivan, Garry tried to breach the wall, witnessing his son shield his face from the fire.

Jessa, who is pregnant with their sixth child, attempted to enter the inferno but Garry had to forcibly pull her to safety.

Jessa sustained second-degree burns on her arms and legs during the ordeal.

The couple’s other children include their nine-year-old eldest, seven-year-old twins, and a two-year-old infant.

The family speculates that an unattended candle might have sparked the fire. They had resorted to using candles after their electrical supply was disconnected.

Senior Fire Officer 3 Jemboy Pacardo from the Bureau of Fire Protection (BFP) in Anilao reported that they received the distress call at 9:13 p.m. and arrived on the scene within 12 minutes.

The fire, believed to have ignited around 8:45 p.m., was fully extinguished by 9:40 p.m. The damage from the fire was estimated at P5,250.