TWO lives ended in another blaze, in what is turning out to be a tragic Fire Prevention Month.
Alberto Alcazaren, 84, and his wife Lydia, 85, were found among the rubble of their house in an interior portion of Lucero St., Barangay Langtad in the southern town of Argao, Cebu last Friday night.
The couple’s remains were found very close to each other inside the bathroom, the only concrete portion of their house.
The tragedy in Argao happened less than 24 hours after a fire struck a house inside the Calderon Compound in Banawa, Guadalupe, Cebu City, killing lawyer Manuel Barrios Pastrana, 79, his wife Norma, and their helper Joy Lagunero, 46.
In the Argao case, SFO1 Kevin Rodriguez of the Argao Fire Station said the call for help reached them at 8:45 p.m. The fire scene is about three kilometers from the fire station.
By the time they reached the scene, Rodriguez said, the blaze already engulfed almost the entire house.
The lack of access impeded the firefighters.
Rodriguez said they had to cut down several banana plants in order for the three fire trucks to reach the area.
But because the house was surrounded by Chinese bamboo groves, Rodriguez said, they were forced to connect the hoses.
It took them five minutes to control the flames. The firefighters, though, spent 20 more minutes putting out the embers.
Based on the information Rodriguez gathered from the victim’s neighbors, the couple occasionally lit a bonfire in the bathroom to drive away insects, particularly mosquitoes.
About a month ago, one such bonfire alarmed the neighborhood because of the thick smoke it created.
Neighbors Alladin Comalig, 28, and Josephus Zeta, 24, told reporters yesterday that minutes before the fire broke out, they heard a crackling sound in the couple’s house.
The next thing they noticed were the flames.
Zeta said they did not hear any call for help from the couple.
Dionisio Pamor, 89, who lives a few meters away from the victims’ house, said earlier that night, he spotted the couple when they arrived home after hearing mass.
Pamor said he then saw Berting, as he called Alberto, boiling a pot of water.
All the neighbors quickly tried to put out the fire while waiting for firefighters.
But Pamor said it was very difficult for them to get near the house because the flames spread to the bamboo grove nearby.
The neighbors, who gathered at the fire scene yesterday, talking about the tragedy that befell the couple, were one in saying Alberto and Lydia were very good neighbors. They were also a religious couple. A partly burned Holy Bible was recovered near Lydia’s hand, when the firefighters found the couple’s remains.
They had no children.
“Bisan og mga tigulang na sila, mag-holding hands gyud to sila. Nindot kaayo sila tan-awon nga mag-asawa (They always held hands, even if they were old. They were very pleasant to look at),” Comalig said.
A vigil for the couple will be held at the barangay chapel, and their bodies were scheduled to be brought back from a funeral parlor in Carcar City yesterday afternoon. (JTG)