5 workers die in Batangas bakery fire
LOS BAÑOS CITY – Five bakery workers, one of them a pregnant woman, died while one remained missing after they were trapped in side the burning establishment in Taal, Batangas on Sunday morning.
Taal police chief Senior Inspector Apolinario Inzon Lunar Jr. said the fire took place around 3:50 a.m. at the Raiylen’s Bakery in Barangay Bihis, owned by a certain Ralph Lalusindue from Lipa City, Batangas.
One of employees and so far the lone survivor, Gerry Paz, told authorities that the fire started from the bakery’s second floor.
The upper floor, made of wooden materials, was quickly engulfed by the fire until it collapsed. The fire also spread to adjacent stalls made of light materials until it was put out about an hour later.
All the victims were asleep in a room on the second floor when the fire broke out.
“According to the survivor, it’s a policy to keep the room locked during night time, and the only key to it was kept by the caretaker,” Lunar said.
The caretaker, who was identified as Ruffa Fortes, also died in the fire.
Fire investigators found her burned body and realized that she was pregnant although they could not say far along she was.
Lunar said Paz and another worker Jomarie Bernales, who was also Fortes’ live in partner, were already awake at that time and were preparing for work.
“That’s why Paz was able to escape through the ceiling. He said Bernales would have escaped too but went back for the wife (Fortes),” Lunar said.
Once outside, “(Paz) even saw and heard Bernales cried for help before he finally collapsed,” he added.
Lunar said there were six people left inside the bakery when the fire spread.
Fire authorities however only recovered five bodies and have so far identified four through what remained of their body accessories.
The four identified remains were those of Fortes, Josie Afable, Renelyn Teoxon, and Rosebee Cadiong, all female. Listed missing were Bernales and Bea Buenaflor.
The gender of the fifth cadaver could not be determined, although investigators said “it was flat chested,” Lunar said.
Fire authorities initially identified faulty electrical wiring as the cause of the fire. They however could not say the cost of the damages as the owners of the adjoining damaged stalls have not yet reported to the police.
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