Wednesday, March 17, 2010
"Manakawan ka na, huwag ka lang masunugan".
I've always heard people say that, but I never gave it much importance. I have friends whose homes have been ravaged by fire. I remember in St. Scho when I was in grade school, we were asked to donate clothes to the family of a classmate because they weren't able to save anything. There has also been an instance when I was kid, when we still lived in the house in Sampaloc, there was fire but it was like a couple of streets down. But I remember we took some of the stuff out of the house so we can just run and save a couple of things. We were saved, and that was the most important thing.
But last Monday, March 15, the fire was just too close. I was at work, when I got a call from my distressed Mom. She said there was fire in the house selling water, the thing was that house was right beside our apartment block. I said I was coming home right away.
I was driving like a mad woman. Images of our houses getting burned, and the fire fighters wrestling with the flames, danced in my mind. I was on the verge of tears, and I was praying incoherent stuff to God. When I got to Pasong Tamo, I was racing with the fire trucks, and it was so nerve wrecking because you knew exactly where they were going.
The whole stretch of Kamagong and Estrella Sts. were blocked off by huge red fire trucks. I was thinking the fire must have been huge because there were like 10 fire trucks waiting along Estrella, and around 10 more waiting in Kamagong. Our street, Tanguile, was almost flooded with murky water when I got there. I will never forget the heat emanating from our place. Smoke was billowing everywhere. The fire fighters walking around the area seemed so surreal to me. When I saw Mom, and I saw they were ok, I calmed down. The fire was 2 houses down. There's this 4-unit apartment block, and it was the one that got burned. The firemen had already called "fire out" when I got there. Thank God!
And, it was through times of trouble where I see camaraderie among us Filipinos. Sweaty fire fighters sat on the sidewalk, and people from the neighboring houses came out offering them water. Mom and I bought Coke for them. It was really nice seeing that. You always see good things happen during bad times! Too bad I wasn't able to get pictures of that. I was also busy giving Coke to them. :)
A big thank you to God for saving us. And also, a big thank you to the noble and heroic volunteer fire men and women, whose quick response to the call contained the fire in that spot alone. There were houses right beside that apartment unit and they were all saved. :) I'd specifically thank the fire protection units of Makati, maraming salamat po talaga! Some of the volunteers came as far as Marikina and San Juan. Others were from Leveriza, Quiapo, Paco, and the always-present Filipino-Chinese Volunteers. Thank you! :)
To the families who lost everything to the fire, I pray that they get the strength to rebuild their homes. :)
And yesterday we got word that the fire started from 3 men who was attempting to steal stuff from one of the apartment units that was already abandoned by its former tenants. They left a crap load of basura in their unit, and the men were rummaging around it. They were smoking and obviously one of them threw it in the basura pile. Since it was hot, it caught fire and before they knew it the fire was too big for them to put out themselves. Our neighbors were telling the fire fighters that shortly before that fire got out of control, they saw 3 men running away from the unit.
Hopefully this doesn't happen to anyone else! Let's be more vigilant, especially this time of year when temperature can really rise. It's March and it's Fire Prevention Month, so let's do something to really prevent fire. :)