Chained woman trapped in fire-A A +A
Wednesday, September 4, 2013
A WOMAN, who had been chained by her family for allegedly being mentally ill, died after she was trapped in a fire in Barangay Estaca, Compostela, Cebu yesterday.
The fire razed 12 houses in Sitio Lutaw, destroying at least P300,000 worth of properties.
Firefighters found the charred remains of Josephine “Joy” Mahinay, 40, on the second
floor of the house, where the fire reportedly started.
SFO2 Tomas Peñas of Compostela Fire Station told Sun.Star Cebu they received the alarm at 8:36 a.m. and controlled the flames in seven minutes.
By then, however, the houses that were mostly made of light materials had been reduced to rubble.
Initial investigation showed that Luciana Mahinay, Josephine’s mother, heard an electrical spark in the ceiling on the second floor of their house. Luciana checked and saw flames starting to eat the house.
She tried to unchain Josephine, but the fire had already engulfed the room, so she ran for safety.
“Nagpakiluoy pa intawon ‘to. Bisag unsaon nako, di naman gyud mahimo (She was begging me to save her. But I couldn’t do anything),” Luciana said in an interview over TV Patrol Central Visayas.
She said the embers injured her in the shoulders.
Last week, Peñas said, Luciana asked an electrician to fix their defective electrical switch.
Peñas said Josephine had been suffering from a mental illness for 20 years already.
The victim used to work at the Mactan Export Processing Zone (MEPZ) until she became ill.
Peñas said Josephine suffered from an intense headache and didn’t immediately consult a doctor until it got worse.
The victim reportedly had medication but had to stop it for financial reasons.
“Mao nga gikadina siya kay manghilabot naman, especially sa mga bata gawas sa ilaha (So she had to be chained),” Peñas said.
Peñas said the neighbors didn’t immediately call for help as they tried to put out the fire by themselves.
The narrow road to Sitio Lutaw also hampered the firefighting operation. The scene is located at least two kilometers from the town proper.
PO2 Emil Rubilla of Compostela Police Station said they will investigate if anyone should be held liable for chaining Josephine.
“Di man gyud ta na \pwede (Chaining a person is not allowed),” he said.
Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on September 04, 2013.