Born Feb. 29, this leap-year baby was supposed to celebrate her ninth birthday on March 1.
But in less than two hours, a predawn blaze that ironically ushered in Fire Prevention Month reduced Anna Relano’s neighborhood to a smoldering wasteland Friday morning, killing the young girl and sending a septuagenarian woman to the hospital.
A firefighter was also hurt when the roof he was standing on collapsed during the fire that gutted 30 homes in a slum area in Barangay Tagumpay, Quezon City.
Around 60 families were left homeless in the blaze that started 4:30 a.m. and destroyed property worth about P500,000, according to city fire marshal Supt. Bobby Baruelo.
The girl’s body was recovered shortly after the fire was declared out at 6:20 a.m.
The Inquirer gathered from the neighbors that the victim was alone in the house when it burned down and that her mother had gone to the market to buy food for the girl’s birthday party.
Vanessa Relano was inconsolable when she returned and found her daughter dead.
Another resident, 70-year-old Dolores Diaz, was rushed to the hospital after being trapped in her smoke-filled home.
Firefighter Angelito Aala, 31, of the Sampaloc, Manila, fire station was injured after falling from a house.
Baruelo said the fire reportedly started from the second floor of the house owned by Mendez Sollano on Evangelista Street. The house was already empty when it began, as the occupants had already left for work.
The fire soon reached the fifth alarm and was placed under control an hour later at 5:55 am. It was put out at around 6:20 a.m.
Baruelo said investigators suspect that faulty electrical wiring or appliance may have caused the fire.