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Fifteen people, including nine nursing school graduates who were hours away from taking the two-day licensure examinations, were confirmed killed when fire hit a budget hotel and a semi-commercial building in Tuguegarao City early Sunday morning.

Senior Superintendent Mao Aplasca, Cagayan Police Provincial Office (PPO) director, said the fire broke out at 1 a.m., initially trapping most of the victims in the two buildings at the corner of Luna and Mabini Streets in downtown Tuguegarao City.

The fire reportedly started at a residential-commercial building and then jumped to the five-story Bed and Breakfast Pension House where the nursing school graduates were staying in preparation for the nursing board exam which started Sunday.

Superintendent Pedro Martirez, chief of the Tuguegarao City Police, said the bodies of the nine male nursing school graduates from the University of La Sallete in Isabela City were retrieved along with six others. The charred remains of a couple who owned one of the destroyed buildings and their two grandchildren were also among the fatalities.

Martirez identified six of the fatalities as Norman Fondevilla, Anniedel Fondevilla, Mildred de Leon, Karylle de Leon, Josh de Leon, and a certain Jen, reportedly the househelp.

“All the victims were trapped in the two buildings. They were burned beyond recognition. Most of the victims were already identified through their relatives and companions,” said Martirez.