Four young siblings died when fire razed their home in Mahayag, Zamboanga del Sur, on Thursday night, amid a power outage that stemmed from the recent sabotaging of a transmission tower in Lanao del Norte, authorities said.
Police identified the fatalities as Gian Niez Colanggo, 9; Njay Niez Colanggo, 8; Anthon Niez Colanggo, 7; and Christian Niez Colanggo, 4.
Fire hit the Colanggos’ home in Purok 1 Bayanihan, Brgy. Lower Salug Daku, around 10 p.m.
It appeared that the four children were trapped inside during the blaze, according to a report from the local police.
Senior Insp. Edgar Quitoy, chief of the fire station in Molave town, said his men went to the area upon learning the incident 10 p.m., but found the house already razed.
“Around 10:15 kami dumating sa area to conduct firefighting. Although wala nang apoy, may burning debris pa so ito ang inapula, and after 10 to 15 minutes, nakita na ang mga biktima sa kuwarto,” Quitoy said by phone.
The bodies were then moved from the site, and fire out was declared 10:30 p.m.
According to Quitoy, the Colanggo siblings’ father was not in the house when the fire occurred.
“According to a source, ang tatay nila ay umalis kasi may pinuntahan na vigil or lamay, doon din sa Mahayag, kaya naiwan ang mga bata sa bahay nila. Pagbalik ng tatay, patay na yung mga anak niya.”
Citing investigators’ initial assessment of the area, Quitoy said the fire may have been caused by either a candle or gas lamp left lighted for the night.
“Brownout kasi nung mangyari, by ration ang bigay ng kuryente dito,” he said, adding that Zamboanga del Sur is one of the areas affected by the recent toppling of a tower of the National Grid Corporation of the Philippines (NGCP) in Lanao del Norte.
Last Monday, the NGCP reported that its tower no. 60 in Tangcal, Lanao del Norte, was toppled after being sabotaged by unidentified persons.
According to Quitoy, the fire station in Molave currently caters to Mahayag and Tambulig because those towns still do not have their own fire stations or fire trucks.
It was learned that the town of Mahayag had secured a lot for its own fire station only last year, and the facility could be opened later this year.