Town fire station chief’s uncle killed in conflagration

By: Jennifer P. Rendon

A SEPTUAGENARIAN was killed in an early morning fire in Guimbal, Iloilo on Sept. 4, 2019.

Nicanor Soubiron, 72, tried but failed to get out of his room in Barangay Bagumbayan.

Senior Fire Officer 3 (SFO3) Russel Gotera, Bureau of Fire Protection (BFP) – Guimbal Station officer-in-charge, confirmed that Soubiron is his uncle.

The 72-year-old bachelor lived alone as he refused to stay with his nephews and nieces at their farm.

The house owner, Salvador Gomez, offered the place to Soubiron for him to stay.

Gotera said the quarters where the victim was staying is just 1.5 meter away from the main house.

Nemia Gomez Carrillo, the house caretaker and Gomez’s sister, used to remind the old man against leaving a candle unattended.

Gotera said his uncle had a habit of lighting a candle and keeping it aflame even when he went to sleep.

He also used to keep carton boxes, which he used to create light up his stove when cooking.

When Carrillo saw smoke billowing from Soubiron’s quarters at around 3:50 a.m., she allegedly knocked on the door but heard no response.

Gotera said a cousin, who used to own Gomez’s house, informed him of the incident.

“I called our station to immediately respond while I checked on the place,” Gotera said explaining that he lived more or less 80 meters from the fire scene.

He said the fire already gobbled half of the house when he arrived.

After the smoke was cleared, Gotera saw the body of his uncle near the door.

“I believed he was able to get up and attempted to flee. He might have died of suffocation,” he said.

The incident destroyed almost 80 percent of the house.

Damage to property was pegged at P500,000.