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Something's Cooking and It's Not Dinner

Closing time. Dinner time. The last batch of customers went home. We were about to roll down the metal doors and head to our own dinner table. What was supposed to be a peaceful evening became a tragic nightmare for many people in our barangay. In the night of May 10, 2017, around 120 families lost their homes to fire.

Our street has always been noisy. At first, akala namin may away lang kaya may nagsisigawan. [We thought there was a fight going on.] It wasn't too long until we grasp what's really going on. We locked the store and went outside. There's a gigantic cloud of smoke just across the street. People outside the street are either panicking or watching the spectacle. The fire is close enough for us to worry but not too close to cause panic yet.

I was tempted to document the whole thing and would have done so if I wasn't wearing my housewife attire - daster and apron. I was in the middle of preparing our dinner when I got curious of what's happening. Roy was outside the whole time calling some friends from the fire department. There's nothing I could do to help anyway. It's better stay at home where it's safe, and rely on the internet for updates.

I called up my parents to assure them that we're far from the site. Inunahan ko na. [I informed them in advance.] News of a fire will be in the flash report and they might check on us anyway. Why not spare them from worrying by informing them before the news network does? Roy informed his parents as well.

We heard sirens from 7:00 PM to 2:00 AM. It took a lot of effort just to catch a nap. It's hard to sleep knowing that other people have nowhere to go after that night.


[ 120 families rendered homeless in Pasay fire | MANILA BULLETIN ]

This reminds us that nothing is permanent in this world. In a moment, you could lose everything you own. We're safe now, but how about tomorrow? The future is uncertain.

How can we avoid a catastrophe like this?

Avoid living in fire-hazard areas. Houses built with light materials, cramped together, beside dangling wires just within your reach are definitely prone to fire. If the area is densely populated, look for a housing unit on a building that at least has firewalls. You might have to pay more for your own safety. If you can splurge on gadgets, you can rent a decent house.

Inspect your house. If fire breaks in one unit, it can spread to other units. Simple neglect can escalate to a life-or-death situation. Be responsible! Check your LPG for leaks. Check your electrical wiring. Make sure you unplug the flat iron after using it.

What if we cannot completely avoid a fire?

They say that fire is worse than flood. After a flood, you can clean up the house and wait for the stuff to dry. After a fire, there is little or nothing left to clean. Be insured. If you lose your house and other material possessions to a fire, insurance can provide you with the finances to start again.

If your house do catch fire, save your loved ones and yourself first! Your life is more important than whatever material possessions you spent your hard-earned money on. Don't bother going back to your burning house to save your gadgets.

Let the firefighters do their job. You can help without getting in their way. Madaming usisero. [There's a crowd of spectators.] It's good to know that the bayanihan spirit is in effect, but disappointing to see that some people are there just taking videos for no important reason.

"Bayanihan" is when a community comes together to help people in need. It is derived from the word "bayan" which means "community" or "town." 


The firefighters responded quickly. They closed one of the roads to saturate the area. What probably made the response difficult is the proximity of the houses to one another, and small alleys that cannot be accessed by a firetruck. By 2:00 AM, they were able to stop the fire from spreading.

The very next day, inspectors came to check on household LPG's. They should have conducted inspections before a fire even happened. *eyes rolling*

In the end we're just happy to be alive, safe and insured. Before the fire at Sampaguita street, we were very complacent. Now we're thinking of improving our safety measures doomsday prepper style! You'll never know what happens next. What if it's a zombie apocalypse? *Hahaha! Just kidding!... But what if?.. It's slightly possible... Now I'm scared.*


UPDATE! Hours after I posted this, we heard sirens! Another fire just broke out at Vitalez, ParaƱaque City, less than 200 meters from where we are. It was over quickly. We're so relieved.

Credits to Ida Uyaco for this photo. 

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