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Bacolod City, Philippines Friday, November 29, 2019
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‘Person of interest’ eyed
in pension house blaze


The Bacolod Bureau of Fire Protection has a “person of interest” behind the deadly fire at Java Pension House at Gonzaga-Locsin streets in Bacolod City, that claimed the lives of six persons, Tuesday.

However, Chief Insp. Publio Ploteña, city fire marshal, could not divulge the name of the person of interest yesterday pending the finality of the investigation.

The fire started at the ground floor of the pension house where a motorcycle was parked. Arson investigators are still determining if the motorcycle was intentionally set on fire, or there was an attempt to steal it through manipulating its ignition, as some of the witnesses have claimed and was captured in a cellular phone video.

Killed in the early morning fire were Christopher Java, 33, the owner of the pension house, his mother Magdalena, 73, his son Christian Miguel, 12, nanny Ronalyn Dacalio, 43, Arnold Felomino, 58, who was assigned at the front desk, and Arnel Bajenting, 42, of Cebu.

A fire survivor told the BFP that Felomino, whose body was charred and was found on the rooftop, was about to escape the burning building when he returned and went to the room of the Javas and Dacalio, who might have only awakened when the fire was already raging at the second floor, Ploteña said.

The body of Christopher was found only a few steps away from his room, which door was open.

In the room, Magdalena was found lying on the floor, while Christian Miguel was with Dacalio, whose head was under the dresser.

Ploteña said smoke entered the room of the victims and suffocated them.

Based on investigation conducted by the BFP, about 10 percent of the 40-room pension house was razed by the fire.

The Office of the Building Official is scheduled to inspect the pension house to determine its structural liability.

OBO officer-in-charge Nestor Velez said they will wait for the BFP to finish its investigation before they start their own.

The pension house will be required to comply with all certifications involving safety standards before it can be issued an annual permit, Ploteña said.*


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