‘I wanted to save Jacky from fire’


ROXAS City — Marilyn Cabaña-Pantaleon said she wanted to save her daughter Jacqueline from the fire that engulfed their house on February 16.

“I was willing to give up my life just to save my daughter. No mother could let her daughter die,” said an emotional Pantaleon during a press conference at the Filamer Christian University (FCU) yesterday.

Fifteen-year-old Jacqueline, initially identified only as Jacky, died after she failed to escape the blaze.

After the incident, some parts of her body were found detached.

The early morning fire also razed the house of Andrie Baticados along Hemingway Street.

“I have a lot of ambition for Jacqueline because she is an intelligent girl … jolly and beautiful,” Pantaleon said.

She strongly denied some media reports that she escaped the fire unharmed.

Pantaleon showed reporters the injuries she sustained when she and her other daughter Marijim, 22, tried to save Jacqueline.

“I’m willing to give up my life for my daughter because I cannot afford to lose her,” she said.

Jacqueline, a third year high school student of FCU, is a relative of Capiz Emmanuel Hospital Administrator Jessie Contreras and of former Gov. Esteban Contreras.

The fire may have started from the abandoned room on the ground floor of the house, according to boarder Rosalie Soriaso who alarmed the Pantaleons.

Voltaire Bernardino, a neighbor, said the fire truck from the Roxas City Bureau of Fire Protection came 30 minutes late.

He said he even commandeered the firemen to aim the hose at the portion of the house where Jacqueline was.

Antonio Felipe, another neighbor, confirmed Bernardino’s claims, saying that he asked another neighbor to call the firemen.

But Fire Insp. Kenneth Lester Gimotea, city fire chief, denied this. He said they received the fire alarm at about 2:04 a.m.

Three minutes later, the fire truck and the firemen arrived at the scene, he claimed.

In defense, Gimotea said firemen cannot immediately put out the fire without clearance from the fire commander.

“It was a protocol that in any fire incident, firemen cannot immediately respond without the order of the ground commander,” he stressed.

But Gimotea admitted that their equipment were already obsolete, adding that their supplies arrive occasionally.

“I think it’s time to upgrade the fire equipment,” he said, saying that he will request assistance from Mayor Angel Alan Celino./PN

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