Filipino in Norway Dies From Fire Injuries

A Filipino nursing aid in Norway died Sunday after sustaining multiple burns in a fire in Oslo.

June Michelle Bruno, 35, was initially brought to the Ullevaal Hospital for treatment after she sustained serious burns from a fire that struck her house at Simensbråten, a suburb around 3 kilometers away from the center of Oslo.

She was renting the house with three others. Only Bruno was at home on the day the fire occured as it was her day off.

Nine others were evacuated during the fire, Two were sent for emergency treatment according to media reports.  However, it was only Bruno who suffered serious injuries.

It is not yet clear what caused the fire as Norwegian authorities are still investigating the case.

ABS-CBN News learned that Bruno was still able to call her friends when she realized that she was trapped inside the burning house. She was supposed to have called her friends and asked for their help.

She was quoted as saying, “nasaan na kayo, tulungan niyo ako. Hindi ko na kaya ito.”

Bruno worked as a nursing aid at Ryen Sykehjem, a nursing home in Oslo. She is single and came to Norway three years ago to work.

While being treated at the hospital, she was declared brain dead after suffering from asphyxiation. She succumbed to cardiac arrest from her injuries 3 days later.

Her sister, Ma. Cecilia Bruno Rivera, arrived in Norway on Monday to make arrangements for her body to be transported back to her family in Bacarra, Ilocos Norte.

She will be present at the wake of her sister at St. Olav Church in Oslo on April 13, and will receive the Filipino community who want to pay their last respects.

The Philippine embassy in Oslo facilitated the visa for Rivera. It has been assisting the family in the paperwork needed to ensure the return of her remains to the Philippines.

It is expected that Bruno’s family will get financial aid from her employer, the Norwegian welfare fund, and her work insurance. However, it is not sure if all the claims can cover the expenses.

Friends and workmates in Oslo are now raising funds to defray expenses for the transport of her remains.

To transport the remains, the family had to pay four times the amount an individual pays for a single plane ticket. A plane ticket to from Oslo usually costs from P40,000 to P80,000 depending on the season.

Asked if the Philippine embassy in Oslo has financial allocation for her case, Vice Consul Lenna De Dios-Sison said that discretionary funds for overseas workers are not available at the embassy level, and that it needs the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) home office in Manila to approve the release of funds if it is deemed necessary.

“Usually, the funds are released by the DFA but priority is given to those overseas workers who are on death row,” she said.

Overseas workers from all parts of the world send billions of pesos to the Philippines while working abroad.

They also pay thousands of pesos in fees and taxes to government offices such as the the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA).

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