Two three-year-olds died due to suffocation after they were trapped inside their burning house in Acacia Place Subdivision, Barangay Labangon, Cebu City, early morning yesterday (below). A photo of the same house a few hours later shows the extent of the damage.
Photos by Rowena D. Capistrano and John Walt Bordario of react Philippines Inc., Cebu South Group
Mom, helper still in hospital: Fire kills two kids
Michael Vencynth Braga, Rowena D. Capistrano (The Freeman) - November 5, 2016 - 12:00am

CEBU, Philippines – Two children, twins, were killed after a fire hit a house in Acacia Place Subdivision, Barangay Labangon, Cebu City, early morning yesterday.

The fatalities were identified as Elaine Margaret Myatt and Philet Myatt, three years old, while their mother June Estallila Myatt, 35, and her helper Lovelyn Estender, 18, were rushed to the hospital for treatment.

Cebu City Fire Marshall Chief Inspector Rogelio Bongabong said they received the alarm 2:55 a.m. yesterday from the security guard of the subdivision who heard explosions inside the house of the Myatts, who are Filipino-British.

Based on the initial investigation, he believes the fire started from a malfunctioning airconditioning unit in the family's living room. However, he clarified that they cannot yet confirm with finality the airconditioning unit really caused the fire.

The fire, however, did not totally destroy the room, but Bongabong said the smoke might have suffocated the twins. He added the mother survived by jumping off the second floor from the terrace.

After attempts to destroy the doorknob of the children's bedroom with an axe failed to open the door, the responders decided to destroy the door altogether.

With the remains of the door finally pushed aside, the responders immediately brought them to an ambulance waiting outside the house in an effort to revive them but to no avail. The twins were rushed to the Cebu City Medical Center, but the attending doctor declared them dead on arrival.

Bongabong said they will conduct further investigation and will involve the guards on duty to determine if they were able to promptly act on the incident. They also want to question June.

Fire responders declared the fire under control around 3:15 a.m. and completely extinguished at 4 a.m. Structural damage was pegged at P2 million.

The survivors are currently recuperating in a private hospital and could not be reached for comment yet.

In an interview with The FREEMAN June's high school classmates said they were saddened by and can still not believe what happened to their friend. They are praying for strength for their friend who lost two loved ones.

Lita Belacho, vice president of the homeowners association, said she does not personally know the family but said she always noticed June bringing the twins with her whenever she passes by their house. She added she was saddened by the death of the twins.

Meanwhile, Senior Fire Officer 1 Wendell Villanueva, information officer of the Bureau of Fire, reported that a total of 33 people have died as a result of fire from January to October this year in Central Visayas, a significant increase from the same period last year which recorded only four deaths.

Of the 2016 figures, 28 deaths were in Cebu, two in Lapu-Lapu City, and three in Bohol.

Villanueva said the main cause of most of the fires was electrical misuse such as overloading of electrical lines.

He further urged homeowners to always monitor their electrical system especially homes with numerous appliances. — /BRP (FREEMAN)

BARANGAY LABANGON
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