A candle, lit by a resident during a brownout, caused the fire that destroyed 25 houses, damaged four, and claimed the life of a man in Purok Langis, Barangay Banago in Bacolod City, at about 1:35 a.m. yesterday.
Roland Envidiado, about 40, who went back to his burning house, got trapped and died, Fire Officer 1 Carlo Vincent Mallari, an investigator of the Bacolod Bureau of Fire Protection, said.
Siblings Randy and Flordeliza Barroquiña sustained minor burns, Mallari added.
Ruby Orquia, 48, sister of Envidiado, told the DAILY STAR that the victim was seen helping their neighbors put out the fire. However, Envidiado went back to his burning house to get something, but failed to come out.
Envidiado's mother Angelina, 70, said her son, who had epilepsy, may have been hit by burning timber and inhaled a large amount of smoke. She recalled that despite her age, she was able to run very fast through a narrow pathway to get away.
Angelina said they buried Envidiado yesterday since they have no place for his wake and no money for other expenses.
Aside from the brownout, the pathway to the purok was also flooded because of heavy rain Tuesday night, Orquia said.
A resident of the purok claimed that one of their neighbors lit a candle and placed it on top of a refrigerator. The candle allegedly fell when a cat passed by it, and the fire immediately spread to nearby houses.
The BFP reported that the fire spread easily, since most of the houses were made of light materials, and about P700,000 in properties were destroyed by the two-hour fire.
Firetrucks and firefighters from the nearby cities of Talisay, Silay and Bago augmented the Bacolod BFP and volunteer groups as the fire reached 5th alarm status, Mallari also said.*SGG
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