Task force to probe pension fire underway

A TASK force will be formed by the City Government of Bacolod to conduct a thorough investigation on the fire incident that hit the Java Pension House in Gonzaga-Locsin Streets, Bacolod City on Tuesday morning, November 26.

Mayor Evelio Leonardia, who visited the area on Tuesday, said that he already instructed Secretary to the Mayor Edward Cuansing to form a committee or task force composed of the Bureau of Fire Protection (BFP), Bacolod City Police Office (BCPO), Office of the Building Official (OBO), and barangay officials, among others.

“We would like to make a thorough investigation of this because we are talking of the situation of the downtown area,” Leonardia said.

He added that the accommodation facilities should be reviewed and checked again by the authorities.

At about 4:37 a.m. Tuesday, the fire hit the Java Pension House, a former Bascon Hotel, in Gonzaga-Locsin Street. Six persons, including a minor, were killed.

The fatalities were identified as Christopher Java, the owner of the pension house; Miguel, Java’s 12-year-old son; Magdalena, Java’s mother; and Analyn Dacallo, Miguel’s nanny.

Two other fatalities are still unidentified, while four other persons, including an Australian national, were injured and brought to a hospital.

Some witnesses, who refused to be named, said that before the incident, three unidentified men were seen along the ground floor of the pension house. One of them took a helmet and burned it in the area.

“A thorough investigation should be conducted on this. If the allegation is true so there should be criminal responsibility here, give justice to all the victims,” Leonardia said.

He said the Department of Social Services and Development (DSSD) will make an assessment for the assistance to the families of the victims.

“It’s a very sad incident because it’s not only about property, there were persons who lost their lives. I condole to the families of the victims,” the mayor added.

Vice Mayor El Cid Familiaran and Councilor Cindy Rojas also expressed their condolences to the families of the victims.

Familiaran said it’s also the time for the BFP and OBO to inspect all the buildings in the city as to the compliance of the building code.

“We should check the building’s fire exits, fire alarm and sprinklers for the safety of everybody,” he said.

Rojas said she’s thankful to the BFP and various fire volunteers for their fast response that the fire did not reach other buildings.

She said the city will also give assistance to the families of the victims.


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