Fire kills couple on wedding anniversary-A A +A
Sunday, December 18, 2011
CEBU CITY -- Nine days before Christmas, Senior Police Officer 2 (SPO2) Felix Matbagon and his wife Liza, a public school teacher, were burned to death when fire engulfed their house in Danao City last Friday night.
It also happened to be their wedding anniversary.
Felix, 54, was about to end his service on January 1, after opting for early retirement because of his chronic cough, said Chief Inspector Ricky Delelis, the city’s police head.
“Kahit sandali ko siya nakilala, buotan siya (I only knew him for a short while, but he was a good man),” Delelis said in a phone interview.
The couple’s daughter Liezle Hermeninda, 32, and son-in-law Antonio, 32, suffered third-degree burns in the legs. Their two-year-old granddaughter Aisel was rescued.
The three were sleeping in a separate room, Delelis said.
According to them, they were awakened by intense heat.
They escaped through the window after its grill was detached. Liezle and Antonio walked on the roof and went down to the terrace.
They had to throw Aisel to the ground, but the girl was not seriously hurt because the terrace was near the ground.
Their two-storey house was located on Mabini St., Barangay Poblacion.
The fire also destroyed the house of a neighbor, Manolo Angeles.
The fire reportedly broke out around 11:45 p.m.
Delelis said he was told by fire investigators that a faulty wire connection of the Christmas lights may have caused the blaze.
Both houses were mostly made of light materials and the damage was pegged at P500,000.
Delelis said a group of bystanders, who were having a drinking session nearby, said the fire started on the ground floor. They hurled rocks at the house to rouse the family from sleep.
Some of the teenagers rushed to the fire station, some four kilometers away.
A fire truck responded, but was not able to put out the fire right away because the flames were already huge. Several fire trucks from neighboring towns and cities later arrived to help.
Felix’s charred body was found in his room. His wife Liza, 53, was found on the ground floor, Delelis said.
Felix joined the police service on December 1, 1987. He was assigned at the Tabuelan Police Station before he was transferred to the Danao City Police Station, said his friend SPO4 Edgar Gomez in a separate interview.
“Pagkahibawo nako nga wa na siya nakahilak ko (I cried when I found out about the tragedy),” Gomez said.
Last October 1, Felix was granted non-duty status to give him time to process his retirement papers.
Delelis said Felix, who was part of the mobile patrol team, had no pending administrative and criminal cases. (KAL of Sun.Star Cebu)
Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on December 18, 2011.