2 dead in Malabon fire

(The Philippine Star) - March 19, 2015 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines - Two persons died and at least 13 others, including four fire volunteers, were injured when a fire broke out at a slum area in Malabon City Tuesday night.

Authorities identified the fatalities as Virginia Ytac, 62, and Agustin Eriste, 80, of Barangay Tonsuya.

City fire marshal Chief Inspector Rodrigo Reyes said Ytac died of suffocation. Eriste was found in a water drum.

Reports said the fire started in the house of a certain Marichu at 8:20 p.m. Arson investigators have yet to determine the cause of the blaze.

Carl de los Reyes, head of a fire volunteer group called Federal Union, said volunteers Edel Santos and Michael Tubalinan suffered injuries after irate residents attacked them at the height of the fire.

Tubalinan and another volunteer were taken to the Tondo General Hospital for treatment of stab wounds. Another volunteer from Barangay Tenejeros fire station was brought to the Jose Reyes Memorial Medical Center after he was hit by an improvised arrow.

Reyes said nine residents were treated in the hospital for injuries.

He said a commotion ensued when the residents, some of whom were drunk, tried to grab the water hoses from the firefighters. Others broke the windshields of the fire trucks when firemen failed to enter the area due to thick smoke.

Senior Superintendent Sergio Soriano Jr., Bureau of Fire Protection (BFP) National Capital Region director, said the fire reached Task Force Bravo and was upgraded to Task Force Delta before it was declared under control at past 1 a.m.

Soriano said they had a hard time putting out the flames because most of the houses were made of light materials and the area was separated by a creek, which made it difficult for the fire trucks to maneuver.

The fire left at least 700 families homeless. Damage to property was placed at P3 million.

Interior Secretary Mar Roxas ordered the National Capital Region Police Office and BFP to probe the attack on firemen. 

In Caloocan City, some 50 families lost their homes when a fire broke out in Barangay 167 also on Tuesday.

Arson probers said Vivencia Melancolico was preparing food at 4:50 p.m. when a gas stove blew up, triggering the fire. – Rey Galupo, Cecille Suerte Felipe

AGUSTIN ERISTE BARANGAY TENEJEROS BARANGAY TONSUYA BUREAU OF FIRE PROTECTION CECILLE SUERTE FELIPE CHIEF INSPECTOR RODRIGO REYES EDEL SANTOS AND MICHAEL TUBALINAN FEDERAL UNION FIRE IN CALOOCAN CITY INTERIOR SECRETARY MAR ROXAS
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