18-minute fire kills boy, hurts mom, sister in Quezon City

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01:59 AM April 25th, 2012

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By: Nancy C. Carvajal, April 25th, 2012 01:59 AM

A fire that broke out on Tuesday in a shanty in Quezon City raged for only 18 minutes although it left a 3-year-old boy dead and his mother and younger sister injured.

Arson investigator Senior Fire Officer 2 Fortunato Alde of the Quezon City Fire Department identified the victim as Mark Cuntado, a resident of Barangay (village) Payatas.

His mother, Aiza, 23, and 2-year-old sister Elaiza suffered burns and were taken to East Avenue Medical Center where they remained confined. Aiza was being treated for third-degree burns on her back and her daughter for first-degree burns on her hands and feet.

Alde said the fire broke out at 3:07 a.m. Tuesday and was put out 18 minutes later. It did not spread beyond the victims’ house, which did not have electricity.

“The victim’s shanty was separated by a vacant lot, which the family had converted into a vegetable garden,” he said.

According to the arson investigator, Aiza told fire probers that they were all asleep when a candle they had lighted fell beside the bed where they were all lying, leading to the fire.

Aiza said that when she realized what was happening, she took her daughter and threw her out of the window.

She then started looking for Mark but failed to find him because of the thick smoke that had started to spread inside their house.

She said she crawled about on the floor, trying to feel around for her son but was forced to jump out of their house after her clothes caught on fire.

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