BONTOC, Mountain Province – A fire burned down residential houses and the camps of the Philippine National Police (PNP) and Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) on the evening of May 31, 2022, at Camp 1st Lt. Geronimo F Montes, Bontoc, Mountain Province.
Per the report from the Bontoc Emergency Operations Center, at 11:10 in the evening of May 31, 2022, the Bontoc Municipal Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office (MDRRMO) headed by MDRRM Officer Johanna Padaen received a phone call about an ongoing structural fire in the said area.
Interviews from residents who are the first to witness the fire incident revealed that the fire started in a house vacated by the Lansam family and currently occupied by the PNP personnel.
SFO4 Bartolome Cacamo, the Officer-in-Charge of the Bontoc Municipal Fire Station (MFS) in an interview confirmed that the fire started at 11:03 on the evening of May 31, 2022, at the house vacated by the Lansam family and is currently being occupied by the PNP personnel as its quarantine facility.
The fire rapidly spread to its nearby structures. Totally damaged are house vacated by the Lansam family and occupied by the PNP personnel, the AFP camp, the residential house owned by Gabriel and Edwina Lucas which is currently occupied by their relatives, a vacant house owned by the Lamarca family, and a residential house owned by the Luman family. Partially damaged is a house owned by the Aspilan family.
SFO4 Cacamo relayed that the fire lasted for one hour and twenty minutes and with the help of Sagada MFS, Sabangan MFS, private water delivery truck services, other responders, and volunteers; it was declared fire out by the ground commander at about 12:27 A.M. of June 1, 2022.
He added that no injuries or death were reported in the incident while the cause of the fire and estimated damage cost is still under investigation.
SFO4 Cacamo mentioned that among the items recovered from the PNP camp and turned over to the Bontoc Municipal Police Station (MPS) are issued firearms, vests, uniforms, cellphones, and computer. In addition, the PNP personnel who are currently staying at the house vacated by the Lansam Family were not around when the fire broke out as they are in their classroom for their lecture training.
Meanwhile, the Bontoc Emergency Operations Center through the MDRRMO identified the relatives of the Lucas couple who are currently occupying the house. They are William Rancudo, 38 years old, male, MDRRM Officer of Sabangan Local Government Unit; Godofreda Aga-es, 39 years old, female, a teacher at the Mountain Province General Comprehensive High School and the wife of William Rancudo; Andrei Rancudo, six years old, male, student, son of the Rancudo couple; Frhenselle Changiwan, 18 years old, female, student; Kinson Mosawan, 18 years old, male, student; and Mae Humble Ayeo, 23 years old, female, niece of the Lucas couple.
At the time of the incident, the sister of Godofreda Aga-es identified as Noelle Aga-es Agustin, 29 years old, female, a housewife with her three-month-old daughter identified as Ruth Aga-es Agustin spent the night with the Rancudo family as they were scheduled to travel to Baguio City the following day.
The evacuees are temporarily accommodated at the house of Juliet Corpuz at the Barracks Compound, Poblacion, Bontoc Mountain Province.
Mayor Franklin Odsey who is also the Chairperson of the Bontoc MDRRMC extends his profound gratitude to the responders and volunteers.
“We salute the owners of private water delivery services who voluntarily provided water to the fire trucks,” the mayor said.
The owners of private water delivery trucks are Kimbo Aspiras, Junnie Africano, Michael Lacaben, Darwin Fagsao, Artan Cadchan, Joel Awilan (JBA), Johnson Comafay (Kammagay), Barnie Fangkingan (Tong-ay), Pablo Chaokas, Jr., and other water deliveries that were not identified in the report.
Also, the mayor acknowledged the responders and volunteers including the Bontoc MFS, Sabangan MFS, Sagada MFS, Mountain Province Provincial Police Office, Bontoc MPS, Bontoc MDRRM Office, Bontoc Emergency Response Team; Bontoc Municipal Health Office headed by Municipal Health Officer Dr. Diga Kay Gomez, MOPRECO, officials of Barangay Caluttit led by Punong Barangay Jimmy Cherwaken, and the community people.
As immediate assistance, the Bontoc Local Government Unit (LGU) through the Municipal Social Welfare and Development Office and the MDRRMO delivered food packs, hygiene kits, and family kits to the fire victims early morning of June 1, 2022.
By Alpine Killa-Malwagay & Christy Mae F. Che-es