By NITZ ARANCON
A MAN braved an inferno, hoping he could save his granddaughter who was trapped inside a house. None of them came out alive.
The fire left over 300 people homeless after razing to the ground 68 houses in Jasaan town, Misamis Oriental, Monday afternoon.
Investigators identified those who died as 68-year-old Simplicio Pasahe and his eight-year-old granddaughter Juliana Torres.
Fire fighters found the charred bodies of the victims in what used to be their home last night, hours after the fire broke out in Zone 1 and Zone 2 in Barangay San Antonio. The fire broke out at around 3:40 pm.
SFO2 Arlene Quiño, Jasaan fire station administrative officer, said Pasahe was already outside his family’s burning house but chose to brave the inferno in an attempt to rescue his trapped granddaughter.
Investigators said Pasahe’s charred remains were found just outside a toilet while the girl’s body was inside. The bodies were charred beyond recognition.
Quiño said the victims may have died of suffocation, noting the thick smoke as a result of the fire that reached “4th alarm” based on the standards of the fire bureau.
The bodies were brought to a covered court in San Antonio for a wake. The same facility is now being used as a temporary shelter of those who were left homeless.
The fire destroyed houses in an impoverished community near the compound of a religious sect called Philippine Benevolent Christian Missionary (PBCM) headed by The Rev. Charlie Eugenio, also the barangay chairman of San Antonio.
Authorities said the fire destroyed the houses of 72 families or about 311 people, including children.
Quiño said investigators couldn’t say yet what caused the fire, but she placed the damages to structures at P500 thousand.