Rey Antibo, a former Sangguniang Kabataan chairman in Barangay Banagbanag said Julita Llamos, 17, and Roysan Anoya, 13, were trapped when the blaze engulfed the Llamos residence in Purok 6, at around 2 a.m
Montevista police chief Inspector Werenfredo Regidor, quoting reports from the fire department, told MindaNews the victims were asleep when the fire ate up the wooden structure and quickly spread to the second floor.
The house, owned by couple Vicente and Bellanarda Llamos, is about eight kilometers from the town proper, Inspector Regidor said.
Antibo, a neighbor of the victims, said Julita was the couple’s daughter while Roysan was a househelp.
“Based on initial reports from the fire department, the fire started on the ground floor. Other occupants were able to go out and escape but the victims were trapped in the second floor,” Regidor told MindaNews in a phone interview.
Police said based on initial reports, faulty electrical wiring caused the tragedy, although arson investigators have yet to give conclusions.
“We’re still awaiting the spot report from the BFP (Bureau of Fire Protection),” he said.
Reports said the Llamos matriarch had left to tend their stall in the town market when the fire broke out.
Antibo said barangay officials and other neighbors tried putting out the fire but the flames spread so quickly that by 30 minutes, the house was completely burned.
Charred remains of the victims were later pulled from the ruins.
Regidor said he received a report about the incident over two hours later through mobile phone. He said he immediately tasked his investigators to go with fire officers and conduct investigation in the area.
Neighbors and barangay officials are planning to hold “bayanihan” to rebuild the razed house, Antibo said. He added the survivors are asking for assistance like foodstuff and used clothes.
He said almost P1 million worth of farming machines and equipment were also destroyed by the blaze. (Frinston Lim/MindaNews)