MANILA, Philippines—Forensic experts have yet to determine more than half of the victims who died from the fire that gutted a commercial establishment in Butuan City Wednesday, a police spokesman said Thursday.
Superintendent Martin Gamba, Caraga police spokesman, said only six from the 17 victims from the fire that razed a garment store along the Montilla Boulevard in Butuan City around 3:55 a.m. Wednesday have been positively identified by their families through their clothes and accessories.
In the case of the 11 other victims, Gamba said investigators are having a difficulty in determining who’s who mainly due to the condition of their remains.
“[The bodies are] beyond recognition,” he said, adding that the list of names of those identified will be supplied later on Thursday.
Meanwhile, in its latest report, the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council identified all the names of the victims as follows: Rogelyn Mantubacan, Jonalie Amor, Judelyn Ore, Villa Rose Dumagpi, Ellenie Ocoy, Prences Grace Sayre, Anniejoy Lagura, Mylyn Lirazon, Pengky Despolo, Jessie Dajuya, Princess Mae Figueras, Irene Baliquig, Hazel Cabaña, Liezel Dalaygon, Jeba Salbigsal, Maribel Buico, and Gladys Hope Sabila.
The survivors were, meanwhile, identified as Grace Canoy, 22; Vicky Velez, 23; and Mylene Tolo, 25, who jumped off from the building in fear of their lives.
Gamba said arson investigators were still conducting further investigation to determine what caused the fire that reached the general alarm before it was completely put out at 6:15 a.m.
He said the establishment is being rented by ready to wear retail store Novo Jeans and Shirts, Western Union, Smart Wireless, Globe, and St. Peters.