BY GILBERT P. BAYORAN
Four persons were burned to death when their cargo wing van trucks figured in a head-on collision and caught fire at the highway of Barangay Sagwabanwa in Valladolid town, Negros Occidental at about 12:15 a.m. yesterday.
They were identified by the Valladolid police as Wendell Larios, 37, and his brother, Carlo, 26, both residents of Mabinay, Negros Oriental, and Dianny Jalique Garcia and his helper Evel Elostrisimo, 25, of Hacienda Pula, both of Barangay E. Lopez, Silay City, in Negros Occidental.
Rescuers had to use acetylene torch and bolt cutter to extricate the burned bodies of the victims, who were pinned to their seats.
All the victims suffered third degree burns, while the fire was put out by the Bureau of Fire Protection firefighters an hour after the vehicular accident.
Police probers are looking into the possibility that the head-on collision of the wing van trucks, driven by Wendell Larios and Garcia, may have ignited the fuel tank of one of the trucks.
Investigations by the BFP Valladolid showed that the gasoline tank of one of the wing vans was hit by the other truck, and triggered the fire.
Personnel of the Valladolid BFP and the Municipal Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council, led by Mayor Enrique Miravalles, were assisted by their colleagues stationed in Bago, Pulupandan, and San Enrique, as well as the Bago CDRRMO, in putting out the fire and extricating the bodies.
Capt. Wilfredo Benoman, Valladolid police officer-in-charge, said the cargo truck wing van driven by Garcia was a total wreck.
The wing van truck driven by Larios was on its way to Bacolod City from Dumaguete City in Negros Oriental, when the accident took place.
The accident caused a traffic stall for more than five hours, and the remains of the two wing van trucks were cleared from the highway past 5 a.m. yesterday.*GPB