Fire kills mentally-ill man in El Salvador City

A MENTALLY-ILL man was killed after a mysterious fire hit the municipal hall of El Salvador City, Misamis Oriental on Tuesday dawn, August 8.

The fire that broke out around 12:20 a.m. gutted at least four local government offices including a police station and killed a certain Rene Fuentes, a resident of Molugan village of said town.

It also damaged the post office, local Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) office, the City Council and the police station.

Dr. Christian Caballes, medico-legal officer of the Scene of the Crime Operatives, said the victim may have died from suffocation before sustaining third degree burns in the body.

"Most likely kinamatay niya is suffocation bago siya nasunog sa loob ng selda (He died due to suffocation before he was burned inside his cell)," Caballes said.

Superintendent Jerry Tambis, El Salvador City police chief, said the fire started near the former office of the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology (BJMP) which is now used by the City Social Welfare and Development Office (CSWD) as custodial facility and stock room.

Fuentes was confined at the said custodial facility for safekeeping after he was monitored to have been showing violent behavior.

Tambis said the victim was stuck up inside during the incident since the key was kept by the victim's sibling who took care and fed him every day.

Tambis said the four offices were totally damaged and their equipment including firearms left by the duty personnel were burned.

City mayor Edgar Lignes said the initial cost of damage to structures reached to roughly half a million pesos.

Lignes said the affected offices have been temporarily relocated to the city grandstand to continue its operation with the daily concerns of the local constituents.

The city's top official said he directed the CSWD to facilitate immediate help to the family of Fuentes.

Lignes said the municipal building, which was built with both light and concrete materials some time in 1950's, is old enough to be replaced.

Lignes had already set a meeting with the city officials for them to plan their next actions after the fire incident.

"Mag-meeting ta sa mga opisyal sa syudad para sab kadtong mga documento sa Sangunian nga kinahanglan i-retrieve atong trabahoon (We will have a meeting with the city officials about the documents of the City Council that need to be retrieved)," Lignes said.

Meanwhile, City Fire Marshal Reynante Lorono said investigators are still determining the cause of the fire that reached second alarm.

Lorono said the fire department received the report past 12:00 midnight and put out the fire around 3:00 a.m.

Lorono said investigation is ongoing to determine the cause of the fire.
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