6 people killed in the fire at a retirement home in Bacolod

Fire hits Java Pension House (formerly Bascon Hotel) in Gonzaga-Locsin streets in Bacolod City. Photo by Levi Trio

Updated at 12:39 am on November 27, 2019

BACOLOD CITY, Negros Occidental, Philippines – Residents here woke up to the sad news that six people, including a 12-year-old boy, have died in a five-hour fire that struck a nursing home before dawn Tuesday.

The six people may have died of suffocation as the fire raged for about five hours inside the Java nursing home on Gonzaga and Lacson streets, Bacolod fire chief Publio Ploteña said. .

Some guests, including strangers, escaped by descending from the windows and roof of the five-story building using a ladder climbed by firefighters. An Australian was among the injured.

The victims included Christopher Java, whose family owned the retirement home; her son Miguel, 12, her mother Magdalena Java and the boy’s babysitter, Ronalyn Dacilio.

The other two were not identified at the time of going to press.

Firefighters rescued Australian Paul Cadognago, 75, from his room. Cadognago was taken to a city hospital to treat his injuries.

Japanese tourist Katsumi Suzuki, 67, and three other people were pulled by firefighters from a window on the fourth floor.

Suzuki, a tourist in the city for a month now, said he woke up smelling smoke. Other guests descended a ladder from the roof as black smoke rose.

Bascon Hotel

The fire started at 4:37 a.m. on the ground floor and spread to the other floors. Investigators have yet to determine the cause and assess the damage.

The 55-year-old building was once home to the famous Bascon Hotel, which hosted glamorous parties and had the country’s vice-presidents, senators and foreign ambassadors among its guests, until its owners rented it out to the Java family.

Oscar “Dodong” Bascon, who ran the hotel for 40 years from the mid-1960s, said it broke his heart to see the nursing home engulfed in flames.

Then Governor Valeriano Gatuslao constructed the building in 1964. The following year the Bascon Hotel opened.

Bascon and his wife Carminia are leaving the hotel business after 40 years. Carminia’s niece, Ann Abello, then rented the building to Don Bagatsing, who then sublet it to the Java family.

Published by LZB

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