Investigator: Kids played with fire

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Thursday, February 20, 2014

AN INVESTIGATOR of the Bureau of Fire Protection (BFP) in Bacolod City said that investigation showed that the fire in Barangay Handuman on Tuesday afternoon started because the children, who died in the blaze, were playing with fire.

Fire Officer 2 Mark Stephen Trajeras, arson investigator, on Wednesday said the fire in the Montero residence in Purok Kawayanan started in the room of the three children where they were trapped and died together.

Perished were Erica Montero, 16, a deaf-mute, and her brothers Rex, 7, and Arvin, 3.


Their grandmother Estelita Montero, 68, suffered from second degree burns.
The children’s parents, Ricardo and Rebecca Montero, who were plying their trade as vegetable vendors, left them in the care of their grandmother.

Trajeras said they have set aside the angle that the fire started from the kitchen, explaining that the fire could not have started in the kitchen because the neighboring house adjacent to the kitchen was not burned.

“Even the burned kitchen was still intact,” he said.

Trajeras said witnesses claimed that the three children were always seen holding lighting materials.

An aunt of the victims, who refused to be named, said that Erica was always holding a lighter because her grandmother asks her to light her cigarette.

Trajeras theorized that the three children were trapped since the fire spread immediately because their house was made of light materials.

Earlier reports said Erica was able to go outside to ask for help, but no one understood her so she again went inside to save her brothers.

Trajeras added that their grandmother left them for a while and when she came back, their house was already on fire.

Authorities are still conducting further investigation to determine if the grandmother locked the house from outside when she left.

Trajeras added that they are also eyeing on the possibility that faulty electrical wiring caused the fire.

Published in the Sun.Star Baguio newspaper on February 20, 2014.

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