There is no evidence at present to back claims that the fire which burned down a seaside shanty area in Tagbilaran City at past midnight on Friday last week was due to arson, an official said.
FO1 Ritchen Roslinda of the Tagbilaran City Bureau of Fire Protection (BFP) on Tuesday said they do not have physical evidence nor testimonies from eyewitnesses to prove that the fire which killed three people and displaced 300 others was intentionally ignited.
“Wala gyuy nakakita, even tong mga silingan na mata pa. Wala gyud nakabantay gyud og suspicious acts or mga ebidensya na maka point it is arson na gi tuyo og sunog,” said Roslinda.
Roslinda confirmed that two persons of interest identified by authorities only as “Langlang” and “RJ” were indeed at the house which was pinpointed to have been where the fire originated.
Langlang lived in the said house while her boyfriend RJ frequently visited. Both were noted to have been released from prison three months ago after being convicted of drug charges.
However, the two were seen in a closed-circuit television camera (CCTV) footage leaving the house at past 8 p.m. on Thursday, hours before the fire started.
They were not seen returning to the area after being seen through the CCTV.
“After sila nakita na mipahawa pinaagi sa CCTV, wala na sila makit-e na nibalik. Wala na sila makita sa CCTV after na nihawa na sila sa place,” said Roslinda.
RJ was initially tagged as a person of interest due to a fight between him and Langlang which broke out hours prior to the fire incident.
“Pag-away nila ni buhi og storya ning laki na unta mangamatay mo, ma hurot mo. Pero bisan pa og grabe ang away kay ga bahas-bahas na, ga kuyog gihapon sila og uli didto sa balay sa laki sa Dampas,” Roslinda said.
Roslinda admitted that they have no other proof to conclude that RJ and Langlang were involved in starting the fire, aside from the circumstantial evidence which placed the couple at the scene of fire and being in a fight before the blaze erupted.
Meanwhile, fire investigators are looking into other possible causes such as faulty electrical wiring and the use of a kerosene lamp.
“Among nasuta na kaning balay diin nagsugod ang sunog made of light materials, gabok na gani kuno, unya ang rooms nila four sa ubos, duha sa ibabaw unya naa ni silay electric fan tagsa na mag andar unya malimtan og pawong 24 hours based ni sa testimony sa tag balay,” said Roslinda.
Police had earlier noted that both Langlang and RJ underwent investigation but were not placed under arrest.
They were cooperating with the authorities in their probe but both have been placed under constant surveillance. (A. Doydora)