23 July 2005

Fire!

I was thinking of what to do yesterday after office hours were finally over. It was looking to be an uneventful weekender, so with GMA declaring holiday on Monday, I decided to go home and do my laundry so I can go to Baguio in the afternoon.

I called up Roger, a neighbor and friend in Pasay, to see if he's done with work too and perhaps we can go home together. That arranged, we met outside our building and started the commute home.

In the middle of our travel, Othie (an officemate who rented one room in the apartment a couple of years ago) called me up.

"Where are you?"
"On my way home. Why?"
"There's a fire in your neighborhood. I'm going there to check it out."
"Whaaaat!!!"

When we were near Makati Square, we caught a glimpse of the fire. It was huge! At the boundary of Makati and Pasay, vehicles were no longer being allowed to pass so we walked the rest of the way. Othie later texted that it was quite far from our home, and that I should not worry.

But who wouldn't get worried about a fire so close to home?

"Keep your phone hidden; we're going into the alleyways. It's a shortcut going to the fire. Let's check it out," said Roger.

And so we turned into this really long and narrow passageway which is ... well ... really narrow. If two people meet in this alley, they have to sidestep. And the houses were all joined together. It seemed I did not have to take the extra precaution of having my phone snatched because many of the residents were moving away from the fire with various personal effects in tow. Washing machines, electric fans, bundles of clothes, TV. All had the look of fear, for if the fire got to their place, everything would surely be consumed. And they were even farther from the fire than my apartment!

As we were dodging kids still in school uniforms bearing bags and men and women rushing off, I was thinking about what to save first. The toys? The appliances? The clothes? But I still had time to pack up.

We finally arrived to the scene of the fire. It was only a couple of blocks from our place! The fire was raging, and the narrow streets were not helping any as fire trucks had to fall into queue. We watched as families carried whatever possessions they can save, many crying because they no longer have a house to come back to.

Electricity was cut-off. I went home and started packing. Roger advised not to start panicking, as the fire was definitely not going to reach us. But who can say? What if there's suddenly a strong gust of wind that would send sparks and cinder to our place? I made a mental check of the order by which I would rescue my material possessions. Then we waited outside.

Neighbors who did not usually talk or take notice of each other were chatting about the fire and their fear of it reaching our place, and were asking one another if they had to pack up already. Kids ran to and from a water pump to supply water using pails (there were at least 5 fire trucks there, so this made me wonder why they were running out of water).

The fire was subdued before 9PM. I am thankful that it did not reach our place, and at the same I felt sadness for those who lost their houses that night. I did not have the urge to take photos because I felt it was not proper to document the loss of houses, of people crying, of the fear.

Please, be extra cautious of candles and extension cords in your homes. Check and unplug devices that need unplugging before leaving for work. Double-check if you must. And don't do illegal tapping of electricity. A fire is something that should be taken seriously.

12 comments:

  1. mahirap masunugan... sabi nga nila manakawan ka na wag lang masunugan. dati kami muntik na rin masunugan... pag-uwi ko ng 5:00pm galing school (high school pa lang ako nun) ang daming tao sa bahay namin.. yun pala muntik na kaming masunugan, buti na lang naagapan ng mga tambay sa lugar namin, faulty electrical wiring ang dahilan.

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  2. Yung misis ko rin, nasunog bahay nila sa Quezon province noong bata pa sila. Wala silang kasangkapang nasalba kasi gawa sa kahoy yung bahay.

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  3. Buti nalang. Hindi naabutan ang bahay mo and na-experience ko na iyang malapit ang sunog sa bahay at nag-dadalawang isip kung ano ang gagawin. Cause ng sunog ng malapit sa house namin. Naiwang Galunggong sa kawali (promise, yun ang sabi nila.)

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  4. Oh man, you are blessed to have been spared. Thank goodness no har came to your home.

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  5. I have read the news on the internet, it's good to know ur flat is safe.
    kung ako ang malapit nang masunugan (wag naman sana), una kong isasalba ang briefs ko. Mahirap matulog sa kalye ng walang brief. Happy weekend with jolo!

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  6. oh my...that's so scary. wag naman sana mangyari sa amin yan coz i got lots of memories hidden in my boxes and cabinets...

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  7. Ninang Belle6:21 pm

    Nickie.... I didn't even bother to ask you about that fire when we were in the office yesterday & only read your notes today.... One of my daughter's teachers also resides in your place.... sad to say nadali sila nung sunog! Morale of the story... make sure your electrical connections are switch-off whenever you leave the house.. ingat kayo!

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  8. thank God at wala nangyari sa inyo. mahirap talaga ang masunugan.

    When the house next door caught fire years ago, kami lang mga bata at katulong ang nasa bahay. Major panic since we could not get in touch with my dad and elder brothers who were at a basketball game. we were deliberating on what to bring with us when people from the squatters area came knocking on our door. They had come in through the gate which we left partially open so we could drive the cars out. They insisted that they were going to help us evacuate and tried to force their way into the house. They were already looking over our heads at the contents of the house. there we were already panicking because of the fire and we had to fight off these looters-in-disguise-as-samaritans. ang tao talaga. daig pa ang vultures in taking advantage of prey.

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  9. nick! so THAT'S where all the firetrucks were going! when i went home last friday i saw 2 firetrucks in edsa. i got worried coz i felt like the fire concerned someone i knew.. i'm glad i waws wrong. pero kawawa nga yung neighbors mo. The Lord is good since he protected you and your home..

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  10. hello j-phearson. Noong bata ako, naiwan ko yung kettle na walang tubig sa uling na nagbabaga pa. Maya-maya, amoy sunog na. Buti na lang naagapan. Since then, medyo naging paranoid ako sa mga gas tank, stove, at traditional stove. Double-check talaga bago ako umalis ng bahay.

    Thanks Toni.

    Tanggers, di ko pa naranasan yun ah. Siguro lasing ko noon ano? bwehehehe

    Princess Em, pareho tayo ng dilemma. Andami ko kasing abubot rin!

    Ninang Belle! Grabe talaga yung sunog. Thankful ako na spared kami.

    Yikes Cherry. Talaga? Grabe naman. Mga pekeng mabubuting tao.

    Yers dessagirl, lucky pa rin ako kahit paano ...

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  11. bakit hindi nalang umulan nung time na yun? dba madalas naman umulan ngayon? weird!

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  12. uy sir nick, I heard that in the radio on my way home..dahil si sir willy was listening to SAKSI on AM Radio... grabe, when I heard Pasay I told sir Willy, oh my gosh si sir nick!?! Promise! Tapos sabi ni sir willy okay lang raw malayo raw kayo dun... hay...buti naman... I don't like fires... as in... our ancestral home in Vigan was swept by fires...and that broke my grandma's heart...

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