Mother, 2 kids, die in GenSan fire

GENERAL SANTOS CITY (MindaNews/09 August) — A mother and her two children were killed in a fire that gutted down their home in a crowded community here early on Wednesday.

Fire Officer 3 Macacuna Tumambiling, investigator of the Bureau of Fire Protection station here, said the fire broke out past midnight in one of the houses in Purok 1, B’laan Community Village in Barangay Labangal.

Citing their investigation, he said it reportedly restarted at a portion of the house of the Gamez family, who were then sleeping.

Three of the family members were not able to come out after being trapped inside the burning house, he said.

Tumambiling identified the fatalities as Jovelyn Gamez, 35, and her children Earl, 5, and Anthony, 3.

Witnesses said they initially noticed a fire inside the Gamez household and it spread rapidly and threatened other nearby structures.

Jovelyn was able to call for help but their neighbors failed to rescue them as the fire was already huge and engulfed most of their house by then.

Tumambiling said their fire trucks and personnel immediately responded to the scene after receiving the fire call at 12:45 a.m.

But upon arriving in the area, he said the fire was already huge and affected nearby houses and other structures.

After clearing the fire at past 1 a.m., he said they saw the remains of the two children still in their room and Jovelyn inside the toilet.

“It appears that she was initially trapped (inside the toilet) and eventually failed to get her children,” he said in a radio interview.

He added that their investigation is still ongoing as to the cause of the incident and the actual damages.

The barangay council of Labangal has sent its social welfare officer to the area to conduct an assessment and facilitate the release of assistance to the affected families. (MindaNews)