By Erma Edera
Three people died while two others were injured in an alleged arson attack that hit a residential area in Barangay 147, Tondo, Manila on Wednesday morning,
The Bureau of Fire Protection (BFP) identified the fatalities as Maria Beniza, 21; Leo Tequillo, 4, and Andrei Tequillo, 5. Beniza was the mother of Leo, and Andrei was her nephew, BFP said.
BFP said the fatalities were locked in an embrace when they were found by rescuers after they were trapped during the fire.
The children, aged seven and eight years old, were reportedly injured, sustaining first and second-degree burns.
According to Fire Insp. John Joseph Jalique, chief of intelligence and investigation of Manila Fire District, they were looking into the possibility that someone intentionally started the fire because some residents told them that they smelled gasoline during the blaze.
The chief fire marshal said a land dispute may be the motive behind the suspected arson attack.
Investigation showed the fire broke out in a two-story residential building along H. Lopez Boulevard, Balut, Tondo, Manila at around 6:30 a.m. It reached the second alarm but was declared fire-out at 6:55 a.m.
Around 100 families were affected by the fire as of press time.
The Manila City government, through its Social Welfare Department, has already mobilized its response teams to assist the victims.
The cause and damage of fire are still under investigation.