Family of four perish in early morning blaze

FIRE PERSONNEL try to suppress the raging blaze that consumed the interior of this two-storey concrete building last Tuesday morning, Jan. 4, 2022, in barangay Concepcion, Virac and killed four of its five occupants.

An early morning fire reduced to a burnt shell a two-storey building in Virac last Tuesday morning and killed four members of a family.

According to informed sources, the blaze started on or about 3:10 AM of Jan. 4, 2022 inside the building owned by Nancy Benavidez at the packed residential-commercial neighborhood at the back of the Virac Public Market in barangay Concepcion.

A post of barangay captain Anthony Arcilla at 3:15 AM showed the fire already engulfing the building, which had wooden flooring on the second floor.

Its windows were barred by iron grills while the door grill on main exit on the ground floor was locked.

The bodies of couple Jzar Estacio, 25, his wife Rosmarie Villegas Buentiempo, 28,  and their two children, Kylie Mix, 4, and Klynes, 7, were later found by Bureau of Fire Protection personnel in the debris.

They had been reduced to skeletons, their flesh turned to ashes by searing heat of the blaze.

A brother of one of the victims, Benson, managed to get out of the building with burns on his left arm.

He told the authorities that when he woke up, the fire was already raging.

In his panic, he managed to get out but came back in to try to rescue the other members of the family who were asleep at the time.

“Di ko na kinaya,” said the sole survivor of the flames which raged for more than an hour before it was put under control at 4:14 AM.

An initial report stated that the fire was reported to the BFP Virac Fire Station at 3:20 AM, with personnel on Fire Engine No. 4 led by Insp. Marlon Vargas immediately responding to the emergency and arriving on the scene at 3:22 AM.

Three days earlier, on Dec. 31, Virac fire personnel conducted an Enhanced Community Monitoring at Concepcion.

The San Andres fire station also arrived at the scene at about 3:37 AM, some 20 minutes after a neighbor of the victims called fire marshall Sr. Insp. Dennis Tadoy on his personal number.

Also rendering support was the Bato Fire Station which came at 3:32 AM.

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