Killer Inferno: Scenes from the Java Pension House Fire

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BACOLOD CITY – In the early morning of 26 November, Bacolod awakens to an alarming incident: a fire has engulfed Java Pension House (formerly Bascon Hotel).

HEROES in yellow. Volunteers from Chamber Fire Brigade help contain the fire and prevent it from spreading to nearby establishments.
HEROES in yellow. Firefighters from the Chamber Volunteer Fire Brigade help contain the fire and prevent it from spreading to nearby establishments. | Photo by Richard D. Meriveles, text by Hannah A. Papasin

Brave men responded to the fire call, hoses were trained, the flames were stamped out.

After the dust has literally settled, the city was met with the news that the incident claimed six lives: pension house owner Christopher Java, his 12-year-old son Christian Miguel, mother Magdalena, babysitter Rosalyn Dacalio, and front desk officer Arnold Felomino, and one guest that remained unidentified.

DNX presents the images we captured through the lenses of Richard D. Meriveles.

Japanese Katsumi Suzuki, a guest of the pension house, managed to climb out of the flaming building.
Japanese Katsumi Suzuki, a guest of the pension house, managed to climb out of the flaming building. | Photo by Richard D. Meriveles, text by Hannah A. Papasin
ICONIC RED. The Bureau of Fire Protection firetruck is on standby as personnel helped douse the flames.
ICONIC RED. The Bureau of Fire Protection firetruck is on standby as personnel helped douse the flames. | Photo by Richard D. Meriveles, text by Hannah A. Papasin
DRENCHED. Volunteer firefighters unravel fire hoses for longer reach to help fight fire better.
DRENCHED. Volunteer firefighters unravel fire hoses for longer reach to help fight fire better. | Photo by Richard D. Meriveles, text by Hannah A. Papasin
HUDDLE.  Fire Chief Insp. Publio Ploteña assesses damage wrought by the fire that gutted Java Pension House in the morning of Tuesday 26 November.
HUDDLE. Fire Chief Insp. Publio Ploteña confers with rescue personnel about the fire that gutted Java Pension House in the morning of Tuesday 26 November. | Photo by Richard D. Meriveles, text by Hannah A. Papasin
FIGHTING FIRE. A firefighter from the Chamber Volunteer Fire Brigade uses an aerial ladder, braving the thick acrid smoke to help douse the flames that engulfed Java Pension House.
FIGHTING FIRE. A firefighter from the Chamber Volunteer Fire Brigade uses an aerial ladder, braving the thick acrid smoke to help douse the flames that engulfed Java Pension House. | Photo by Richard D. Meriveles, text by Hannah A. Papasin
DO NOT CROSS. A perimeter tape warns the public against crossing the area that is now littered with debris.
DO NOT CROSS. A perimeter tape warns the public against crossing the area that is now littered with debris. | Photo by Richard D. Meriveles, text by Hannah A. Papasin
COMRADES IN YELLOW. Chamber Volunteer Fire Brigade take a much-needed rest after hours of helping fight fire that gutted one of the iconic buildings in the city.
COMRADES IN YELLOW. Chamber Volunteer Fire Brigade take a much-needed rest after hours of helping fight fire that gutted one of the iconic buildings in the city. | Photo by Richard D. Meriveles, text by Hannah A. Papasin
TIGER TO THE RESCUE.  A volunteer from the Mountain Tigers Search & Rescue Bacolod assists his comrades (out of frame) in dousing the fire.
TIGER TO THE RESCUE. A volunteer from the Mountain Tigers Search & Rescue Bacolod assists his comrades (out of frame) in dousing the fire. | Photo by Richard D. Meriveles, text by Hannah A. Papasin
OMINOUS.  Stretchers and body bags are laid out in preparation for retrieval operations led by the Bureau of Fire Protection.
OMINOUS. Stretchers and body bags are laid out in preparation for retrieval operations led by the Bureau of Fire Protection. | Photo by Richard D. Meriveles, text by Hannah A. Papasin
SIDE-BY-SIDE. The LGUs of Talisay and Bacolod respond to the call by DRRMO assets like the firetruck (left) and an ambulance to assist victims.
SIDE-BY-SIDE. The LGUs of Talisay and Bacolod respond to the call by sending DRRMO assets like the firetruck (left) and an ambulance to assist victims. | Photo by Richard D. Meriveles, text by Hannah A. Papasin
FRIENDLY NEIGHBORHOOD...  Katsumi Suzuki describes how he "spidermanned" out of the building at the first instance and managed to get out safe.
FRIENDLY NEIGHBORHOOD… Katsumi Suzuki describes how he “spidermanned” out of the building at the first instance and managed to get out unscathed. | Photo by Richard D. Meriveles, text by Hannah A. Papasin
BLACK TUESDAY. A woman weeps as she learns the identities of the victims in the fire that claimed six lives including the owner of the building.
BLACK TUESDAY. A woman weeps as she learns the identities of the victims in the fire that claimed six lives including the owner of the building. | Photo by Richard D. Meriveles, text by Hannah A. Papasin
CONTAINMENT. Firefighters from various organizations join forces to ensure that the fires will not spread further so that damage will be contained.
CONTAINMENT. Firefighters from various organizations join forces to ensure that the fires will not spread further so that damage will be contained. | Photo by Richard D. Meriveles, text by Hannah A. Papasin
Bacolod City Fire Marshall Chief Insp. Publio Ploteña checks in on Chamber Volunteer Fire Brigade led by Assistant Fire Chief Jose Tan, Jr. (in glasses) and Station Commander Jonathan Chua (far right).
Bacolod City Fire Marshall Chief Insp. Publio Ploteña checks in on Chamber Volunteer Fire Brigade led by Assistant Fire Chief Jose Tan, Jr. (in glasses) and Station Commander Jonathan Chua (far right). | Photo by Richard D. Meriveles, text by Hannah A. Papasin
A firefighter assesses extent of the blaze that wrought heavy damage to the building.
A firefighter takes a quick rest between fighting fires that eventually wrought heavy damage to the building. | Photo by Richard D. Meriveles, text by Hannah A. Papasin
The fire brought in other volunteers, like those of DYA Bacolod, an NGO committed found providing rescue service during emergencies.
The fire brought in other volunteers, like those of DYA Bacolod, an NGO committed in providing rescue service during emergencies. | Photo by Richard D. Meriveles, text by Hannah A. Papasin
Rescue teams manning stretchers await the results of retrieval operations.
Rescue teams manning stretchers await the results of retrieval operations. | Photo by Richard D. Meriveles, text by Hannah A. Papasin
Bacolod City's DRRMO ambulance is on standby while onlookers wait for developments of the retrieval operations.
Bacolod City’s DRRMO ambulance is on standby while onlookers wait for developments of the retrieval operations. | Photo by Richard D. Meriveles, text by Hannah A. Papasin
Bureau of Fire Protection personnel do post-fire mapping to assess severity of the damage as well as ensure that all the fires have been completely put out.
Bureau of Fire Protection personnel do post-fire mapping to assess severity of the damage as well as ensure that all the fires have been completely put out. | Photo by Richard D. Meriveles, text by Hannah A. Papasin
REMNANTS OF THE BLAZE. The charred remains of one of the iconic buildings in the city is testament to the extent of the severity of the fire.
REMNANTS OF THE BLAZE. The charred remains of one of the iconic buildings in the city is testament to the extent of the severity of the fire. | Photo by Richard D. Meriveles, text by Hannah A. Papasin
ONLOOKER. Katsumi "Spider-Man" Suzuki looks on beyond the yellow tape as fire fighters and rescue teams attempt to retrieve bodies in the burned building.  | Photo by Richard D. Meriveles, text by Hannah A. Papasin
ONLOOKER. Katsumi “Spider-Man” Suzuki looks on beyond the yellow tape as fire fighters and rescue teams attempt to retrieve bodies in the burned building. | Photo by Richard D. Meriveles, text by Hannah A. Papasin
Police receive instructions in securing the area against civilians, so that retrieval operations will start without a hitch.
Police receive instructions in securing the area against civilians, so that retrieval operations will start without a hitch.
Firetrucks from Chamber Volunteer Fire Brigade,  and Amity Volunteer Fire Brigade take strategic positions to enable firefighters move with ease as emergency stretchers ominously looms in the foreground.
Firetrucks of the Chamber Volunteer Fire Brigade, and Amity Volunteer Fire Brigade take strategic positions to enable firefighters move with ease as emergency stretchers ominously loom in the foreground. | Photo by Richard D. Meriveles, text by Hannah A. Papasin
Oscar "Dodong" Bascon, original owner of the building, gets emotional as he recounts his experience as its owner.
Oscar “Dodong” Bascon, original owner of the building, gets emotional as he recounts his experience as its owner. | Photo by Richard D. Meriveles, text by Hannah A. Papasin

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