TO pay respects to his dead father, 16-year old Jomari Bihagan lighted a candle in front of his picture not knowing that it would also lead to his own death.
Feeling sleepy, he went to lie down on his bed to catch a wink in his uncle’s house in Barangay Basak San Nicolas, Cebu City.
The unattended candle melted and ignited a flame on the altar, which was made with light materials that led to three houses being razed down to the ground.
SFO1 Edwin Handayan, fire investigator of the Cebu City Fire Station, said that Brenda Cancho, the victim’s aunt was awakened by a neighbor when she noticed the smoke coming out from the second floor of their house.
Cancho asked for help from their neighbors to put out the fire but it was already too late because the fire already consumed the house.
Jomari’s body was found minutes later, charred beyond recognition.
Handayan said that the fire spread fast into the houses that were semi-concrete. They received the fire alarm at 12:15 a.m., and declared it completely out at 2:14 a.m.
“Nagdagkot ni siya’g kandila para sa kwarenta ka adlaw nga haya sa iyang papa (He lighted a candle for the 40 days wake of his father),” he said.
According to Jonathan Bihagan, the victim’s uncle, the boy’s mother died first followed by his father who was laid to rest last Sunday.
Jomari was the only one left in the house on that day since Jonathan was on the hospital, tending to his sick daughter.
By the time he arrived, his house has been completely burned down.
Damage was pegged at P90,000.
An hour later, another fire broke out at 3:07 a.m. in Victor Village, in Barangay Punta Prinsesa.
The fire reportedly started at the house of Frederick Ruela.
In an initial investigation, a cellular phone charger, which the owner reportedly forgot to unplug, allegedly exploded that caused the fire.
The heavy downpour helped in putting out the fire immediately, which left a damage of P30,000.
Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on May 27, 2016.
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