MANILA, Philippines — Tragedy struck two days before Christmas in Caloocan City where three children died in a half-hour fire that razed a cluster of shanties Saturday night, six months after the same neighborhood went up in flames.
The city fire department identified the three fatalities as 8-year-old Ace Kirby Alejandre, and siblings Wendy and Gremson Bagaporo, aged 8 and 3, respectively.
The Alejandres and the Bagaporos shared a two-story structure, but the children’s parents were not home when the fire broke out from the house around 10 p.m. and spread to six other shanties in Daang Bakal, Barangay (village) 17.
The children were left only with an elderly guardian, according to Senior Fire Officer 1 Benedicto Tudla.
Tudla said the three young victims were probably asleep when the fire started. Their charred remains were later recovered.
“We found the Bagaporo siblings locked in embrace,” he said. “Meanwhile, we found Kirby (Alejandre) near the door. He might have woken up and had the chance to escape but stumbled on his way out.”
Tudla said a lighted candle that toppled over might have caused the blaze, noting that the area was still without power supply after another fire hit Daang Bakal in July.
Residents have since been relying on candles and kerosene lamps for lighting, he added.