Panicking companions leave 96-year-old woman to die in fireBy Jeannette I. Andrade |Philippine Daily Inquirer
MANILA, Philippines—A 96-year-old woman died Tuesday evening in an hourlong fire after young, panicked housemates left her behind in their haste to escape from their burning home in Quezon City, police said.
Segundina Pascual, of Block 3, Lot 27, Zarzuela Street, Lagro Subdivision, Barangay (village) Greater Lagro, died of smoke inhalation and severe burns on the head while undergoing treatment at the Commonwealth Hospital.
SFO2 Fortunato Alde of the Quezon City Fire District said that he and other arson investigators—SFO2 Rosendo Cabillan, SFO2 Renato Gallego, and SFO1 Marcos Mondia—had to rescue Pascual from the burning two-story house and bring her to the hospital because members of her household “forgot” about her in their panic.
Alde said that the fire broke out 5:42 p.m. Tuesday in the second-floor bedroom of a certain Aaron Salvatierra and spread quickly throughout the house.
The arson investigator told the Inquirer that, at the time, only Pascual, her 5-year-old granddaughter and 19-year-old housemaid Mara Castillo were in the house. When the fire started to spread, the housemaid and her ward immediately escaped from the burning house.
Alde said that it was several minutes later that Castillo realized that the 96-year-old woman had been left behind in her bedroom on the ground floor after she was reminded by the young girl about her grandmother.
The housemaid immediately informed the firemen, who acted quickly and got the unconscious and badly burned woman out.
Alde said that the blaze reached the fourth alarm before it was put out at 6:55 p.m.
The arson investigator estimated the damage at P1.5 million and said that the cause of the fire was still under investigation.