AN eight-year-old boy who reportedly left a gas lamp on the altar may have accidentally caused the blaze in the urban villages of Tisa and Labangon in Cebu City last Monday dawn.
SFO3 Pier Angelo Abellana, fire chief investigator, said this was the new detail they learned yesterday, contradicting the earlier claim of some residents that a family fight started the fire.
The fire razed 259 houses and displaced close to 300 families.
Pedro and his son Harry went to the Cebu City Fire Station yesterday to participate in the investigation. (SunStar Cebu is withholding the identities of the boy and his father pending the result of the inquiry.)
Initial result of the inquiry showed the fire was an accident.
“Wala tuyoa sa bata. Wala niya mapawong kay nakatug siya (The child failed to put it off because he fell asleep),” said Abellana in a phone interview.
Before the fire broke, Pedro told Abellana that he persuaded his son to join him in his workplace, where he roasts pigs.
Harry refused, telling his father he was sleepy and wanted to rest in his grandmother’s house.
No one was left in their house. Harry’s mother brought her three siblings to his grandparents in Barangay Buhisan, Cebu City last Sunday morning.
Harry did not stay long with his grandmother. He returned home, carrying a gas lamp. He placed it on the altar, went to bed and dozed off.
Pedro said they do not own pets, but stray cats and rats often plague their household.
For his part, Abellana said a stray cat or rat may have hit the lamp and fell on flammable materials like paper or clothes.
Harry woke up to the heat. He escaped the burning house by jumping out of the window.
Abellana said there were neighbors, one of them was Nelson Tan, who attested the blaze started in Pedro’s house.
Tan also said the fire did not start in the house of Narciso Robles, whom neighbors accused of having a fight with a relative.
Robles, for his part, said there was no fight that happened. He said he was sleeping when he felt the heat coming from Pedro’s residence.