3 kids perish in fire; grandma injured

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Wednesday, February 19, 2014


THREE children were killed while their grandmother was injured when a fire razed their house and five others in their neighborhood in Purok Kawayanan, Barangay Handumanan, Bacolod City Tuesday afternoon, the Bureau of Fire Protection (BFP) said.

The fatalities were identified as Erica Montero, 16, a deaf and mute, and her brothers Rex, 7, and Arvin, 3.

Their 68-year-old grandmother Estelita Montero sustained minor burns on her back and arms.

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Damage to properties was pegged at P500,000, the BFP said.

Fire in Barangay Handumanan, Bacolod City
BACOLOD. A fire wiped out six houses and claimed the lives of three children in Purok Kawayanan, Barangay Handumanan, Bacolod City Tuesday afternoon. (Merlinda A. Pedrosa)


Chief Inspector Bartolome Beliran, city fire marshal, said they were informed about the fire in the house of Ricardo and Rebecca Montero around 12:30 p.m.

He said fire trucks were immediately deployed, but before the responders arrived, the fire has spread to the five neighboring houses mostly made of light materials.

The blaze was put out around 1:15 p.m.

Beliran said investigators are still looking into the cause of fire.
Although some residents believed that the fire was caused by a faulty electrical wiring, or by children playing with fire, one of the Montero children who survived said otherwise.

Simon Tiopes, 22, said his eight-year-old nephew told him that their grandmother left the food she was cooking, locked their house with the children inside, and went outside.

When she came back, their house was already on fire, he said.

Tiopes added that Erica managed to leave the house, and called for help.
However, since no one understood her, she again went inside to save her brothers, and they died together in the fire.

The Montero couple has eight children, and Erica was their eldest. Their eight-year-old son managed to survive by climbing out of the window.

Tiopes said that when he saved their grandmother, he was not informed that his niece and nephews were still inside the house.

The elderly woman could have been in state of shock, he said.

During the incident, the mother of the victims was selling vegetables at Libertad Market while their father was in Bago City to buy vegetables. (Sun.Star Bacolod)

Published in the Sun.Star Bacolod newspaper on February 19, 2014.

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