Lapu-Lapu fire: 10-year-old girl dies after she was trapped inside burning house

By: Pegeen Maisie M. Sararaña - Multimedia Reporter - CDN Digital | April 03,2022 - 05:42 PM
Ruchele Vergara, guardian of the girl who died in the dawn fire in Lapu-Lapu City today, April 3, shows the area where the girl was found after the fire. | Pegeen Maisie Sararaña

Rutchele Vergara, guardian of the girl who died in the dawn fire in Lapu-Lapu City today, April 3, shows the area where the girl was found after the fire. | Pegeen Maisie Sararaña

CEBU CITY, Philippines — A 10-year-old girl died after she was trapped inside a one-story house during a Sunday dawn fire that destroyed a portion of Barangay Poblacion in Lapu-Lapu City.

Rutchele Vergara, guardian of the 10-year-old girl, told CDN Digital in an interview today, April 3, 2022, that the girl ran to the other side of the house where an exit door or gate was located.

Unfortunately, the door, which was a gate supposedly for emergencies of the nearby house, was locked with a steel bar on the outside.

“Akong giingnan [akong kauban] nga ang mga iro, bata kay ipagawas. Unya ang kayo adto naman padung namo, mao to ang bata naas kwarto na trap. Wa na sya kaanhi kay kalit kayo ba, mga five minutes siguro ang kayo grabe na gyud kaayo. Kung na abri lang unta sa silingan [ ang gate ], way problema unta makagawas unta siya,” she added. 

(I told [my companion] to bring the dogs and kids outside. But the fire was already heading towards us. That is why the kid who were inside the other room was trapped. She did not have a chance to come toward us because the fire had already gotten bigger. If only our neighbor opened the [gate], there would have been no problem, she could have gotten outside and escaped the fire.)

Vergara said that she, an adult companion and 4 children were living in the house.

She also said that their neighbor asked permission to have that gate built there, so that their neighbor could use it in times of emergencies.

Unfortunately, she said that they (Vergara and her companions) could not use it when their emergency happened.

The house, where Vergara lived, served as a house and a store selling plastic wares.

The girl-victim, on the other hand, is the daughter of Vergara’s former employee, who was now in Leyte and allegedly had another family.

She left her two kids to Vergara who had become their guardian.

Vergara said that she had yet to inform the mother of what happened to her daughter.

Senior Fire Officer 1 (SFO1) Teodoro Lauglaug of the Lapu-Lapu City Fire Station, said that they received the fire alarm at around 3 a.m. on Sunday, April 3, 2022.

Lauglaug said they had yet to determine how many houses were destroyed because they were still waiting for the fire investigator.

He, however, said that they estimated the damage to property at P600,000.

He also said that initial investigation showed that the girl, who died in the fire, was left behind at the back of the house when the others scampered for safety.

“Naa ni siya dapit sa likod unya nabiyaan ni siya sa kauban sa balay, unya ang kayo dako kay siya nakadako kay didto dapita kay ukay ukayan, tsinelas unya naninda og kurtina, RTW, so paspas kayo ang pagkatap sa kayo,” Lauglaug said.

(The girl was left at the back of the house and the fire quickly spread because the area was a thrift shop (ukay-ukayan), stalls selling slippers, curtains, RTW, so the fire quickly spread.)

Also, Lauglaug said that they continued to investigate the possible cause of fire.

Over this, Lauglaug further reminds the public to unplug all gadgets before sleeping to avoid fire from happening and also to be mindful of their electrical wirings.

Here are some photos taken as aftermath of the fire:

Lapu-Lapu fire: Residents try to salvage what are left of their houses, which were destroyed by the dawn fire in Barangay Poblacion, Lapu-Lapu City. | Pegeen Maisie Sararaña

Residents try to salvage what are left of their houses, which were destroyed by the dawn fire in Barangay Poblacion, Lapu-Lapu City. | Pegeen Maisie Sararaña

Residents try to search in the ruins of their burned houses for things that they can sell to the junkyard. | Pegeen Maisie Sararaña

Residents try to search in the ruins of their burned houses for things that they can sell to the junkyard. | Pegeen Maisie Sararaña

Residents try to salvage what they can among the ruins of their houses, which were destroyed by the dawn fire in Barangay Poblacion, Lapu-Lapu City. | Pegeen Maisie Sararaña

Residents try to salvage what they can among the ruins of their houses, which were destroyed by the dawn fire in Barangay Poblacion. | Pegeen Maisie Sararaña

READ: Tricities hit by 4 fires: P1.4M properties destroyed; at least 150 families displaced

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TAGS: barangay Poblacion, Cebu Daily News, girl, girl died, Lapu-Lapu fire, locked fire exit

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