A REUNION among siblings, all of them in their late years, turned tragic when a fire burned their ancestral house in Barangay Poblacion, Mahinog town, Camiguin, early Wednesday morning, the Bureau of Fire Protection (BFP)-Northern Mindanao said.
The siblings, all surnamed Lao, were identified as Angelita, 74; Tomasita, 70; James, 65; and Vergelio, 64, said Fire Officer 3 Sergio Virtudazo Jr., of the Mahinog fire station.
Virtudazo said the Lao brothers were no longer residing in their family’s house, only Angelita and Tomasita, both single, had remained, along with Lorna Jaquilmac, 65, a retired government employee, and two children.
It was reported that James and Vergelio were in Mahinog for a visit and were supposed to leave the island-province on Wednesday, October 3.
Only Jaquilmac and the children survived the fire, he said. The other house was unoccupied at the time of the fire.
The fire started at 3:25 a.m. and was declared “fire out” at 7:20 a.m., the BFP-Northern Mindanao said. The damage was estimated at P1 million.
Virtudazo said the fire, which originated at the top floor of the two-story residence, quickly spread since the house, built in 1918, was made mostly of wood.
“There were two teams who responded to the fire, but we could not get in and rescue the victims at the second floor since the fire was so intense. We tried our best but we could not get them out,” he said.
He said there was a drizzle during the fire but it was not enough to help quell the flame.
Chief Inspector Victor Rommel Cena, Mahinog police station commander, said the Lao brothers were in town for a brief visit and was supposed to leave Camiguin Wednesday morning.
Cena said the neighbors didn’t notice the fire since they were still asleep and the conflagration happened so fast.
He said the bodies of the victims were hardly recognizable.
BFP-Northern Mindanao spokesperson Noli dela Rita said they are still on the process of conducting an investigation on what caused the incident.