Task Force to probe deadly pension house fire

By: Dolly Yasa

BACOLOD City- A task force will investigate the fire that gutted the Java pension House here which resulted in the deaths of six persons.

Bacolod City Mayor Evelio Leonardia said the task force will dig deeper into the incident amid reports that the fire was intentionally set off by several suspects.

But the Bureau of Fire declined to comment on claims of witnesses that a motorcycle parked in the hallway at the ground floor of the pension house was lit which led to the blaze.

Leonardia said he is saddened by the incident that resulted in the loss of lives and damage to property.

He said that the building has a sentimental value to the city, as it was previously known as the Bascon Hotel which is considered one of the pillars of the city’s tourism industry.

“We would like to dig into this,” Leonardia said.

Leonardia also called on the BFP and concerned government agencies to fully implement fire safety rules to prevent a similar disaster from happening again.

“I even suggested to the [BFP] that they should keep a copy of the evacuation plan of every building in the city,” he added.

The fatalities included pension house owner Christopher Java, his 12-year-old son Miguel and 70-year-old mother Magdalena.

Also killed in the blaze was Java’s housekeeper Ronalyn Dacallo and front desk employee Arnold Felomino.

Another fatality has yet to be identified as the remains were burned beyond recognition.

The Australian national who was reported to be in critical condition was identified as Paul Codognato who remains confined at the Riverside Medical Center here.

Initial findings by arson investigators indicated that the fire started at the hotel’s ground floor hallway.

Damage to property was estimated at P8 million.