HOLY WEEK TRAGEDY: Mother, daughter killed in Roxas City Fire

A FIRE gutted the house of Melvin Solis early Tuesday morning at Brgy. Libas, Roxas City. Picture below is the comfort room where the mother and daughter burned to death and the small window where the three children passed by. (Photo courtesy of Roxas City Burea of Fire Protection)

By: Jennifer P. Rendon and Jomarie A. Billones

A MOTHER and her 11-year old daughter were killed in an early morning fire in Roxas City, Capiz on April 16, 2019.

The bodies of Josefa Progio, 53, and her daughter Charlotte were found inside the bathroom of the family’s rented house at Purok Uno, Dinglasan Village, Barangay Libas.

The victims could have died of suffocation after the fire struck their home around 3:00 a.m. of Tuesday.

The family is in the smoked fish business, which is located right beside their house.

Fire Senior Inspector Stephen Jardeleza, Bureau of Fire Protection-Roxas City marshal, said Josefa was first to sense the fire.

She immediately roused her common-law husband, Melvin Solis, 43, and asked him to check what was happening.

Solis then woke up their four children and told them to get out of the house.

But Josefa saw the fire at their door and she refused to get out and even locked the door.

The mother and her four children proceeded to the bathroom and saw a hole where they could escape.

Three children ages 8, 9, and 14, managed to get out despite suffering from burns.

Several neighbors came in to help.

But when it was Charlotte and Josefa’s turn to go out, the conflagration grew bigger. 

Even their neighbors who were pulling the children from the house had to back off.

Jardeleza presumed that the victims could have died of suffocation before they were eventually charred to death.

The Roxas City BFP received the fire call around 3:23 a.m. and the fire was placed under control 10 minutes later. 

“When our firemen responded in the area, the house’s ceiling already collapsed,” Jardeleza said.

BFP declared the fire out at 4:50 a.m. 

Except from suffering some burns, the couple’s three children are expected to survive.

Meanwhile, Jardeleza said the fire might have originated from the place where the family processed smoked fish.

The family would leave the fish in an improvised cooker while they sleep.

Jardeleza said sawdust used in smoking fish may have escaped from the smoker which resulted in the fire.

“We’re not also discounting the possibility that oil from the cooked fish splattered on the floor and started the fire,” he said.

The fire spared the couple’s neighbors as both sides of their house had a firewall. The rear portion is an open lot while the front portion is facing the road.

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