The fire that broke out Monday night also killed Rhea Tisoy’s 3-year-old cousin, Mark Lester, who was trapped inside.
Rhea, a Grade 3 pupil at Bulacao Elementary School, rushed to her one-year-old sibling’s location and carried him to safety as distraught family members stood helpless before the adjacent room where her younger cousin, Mark Lester Tisoy, was trapped.
Mark Lester’s burnt remains were later recovered from the rubble of his grandfather’s house in sitio Hawod in barangay Bulacao.
His twin brother Mark Anthony was earlier saved by a family member who dragged out of the room where the fire was believed to have started.
The boys’ family makes statues of the Sto. Niño at home.
They didn’t notice the twins playing with matches in the room, where paint and other combustible materials were stored, according to fire investigator FO2 Cesar de la Serna.
The fire, which broke out at 11:10 p.m., lasted 15 minutes and destroyed five houses. Damage to property was estimated at P175,000.
An unidentified family member, who noticed the fire, rushed to the room and dragged Mark Anthony out. It was too late when they realized that Mark Lester was still in the room.
The twins’ parents reportedly tried to douse the flames with water, but the fire have become uncontrollable.
A teary-eyed Elecio Tisoy recounted that they tried to brave the flames, but they were repulsed by the heat.
“Kalit gyud kaayo ang hitabo, pagbubo sa tubig nisamut ug kayo kay thinner man ang naa sa sulod sa balay (It happened so fast. The fire worsened when we tried to douse it with water since there were paint thinners stored in the room),” he said.
Firefighters who rushed to the scene had difficulty entering the fire scene as the narrow road could not accommodate their fire trucks.
The 75-year-old grandfather, who said the family has been making Sto. Niño images for the past 20 years, said they will just have to accept the fate of his 3-year-old grandson and be thankful that his two other grandchildren were saved.
“Naay gamay nga pagmahay nga sa sige namu ug buhat ug imahe ug pagsimba matag Domingo ang ako pa jung apo. Amu nalang ning dawaton nga pagsuway ug mag-ampo lang gihapon nga makasugakud sa panginabuhi (There’s a little bitterness that this happened to my grandson even though we make religious icons and hear Mass ss every Sunday. We’ll just have to accept this challenge and pray that we go on and survive in life) ,” the elder Tisoy said.