GROVE, Los Banos – Fire destroyed a house on a compound behind Sizzler’s last night, Sept. 12.
There were no injuries reported, aside from four puppies that died.
Police reports state that the fire broke out in 10453, Grove at 8:39 in the evening. The cause of the fire, however, was still unidentified.
“Nagulat na lang kami. Marami ng lumabalabas na tao, mga 8:40 siguro ‘yun. ‘Yun pala may sunog na. [We were shocked. There were many people going out (of Sizzler’s) at around 8:40 pm., only to find out there was fire already”], said Helen Garnale, a canteen keeper at Parduch.
Panic struck the nearby Sizzler’s dormitory and restaurant after the fire broke out.
“May tumili. ‘Pag tingin ko, after five minutes may apoy na. Nagtatakbuhan na yung mga tao, so nakitakbo na din ako… Five meters away lang yung sunog mula sa kwarto ko. (Someone cried. When I checked, after five minutes there was fire already. The people were already running, so I followed them… The fire was just five meters away from my room,)” said Maria Carmel Rimpos, a UPLB student and dormer at Sizzler’s.
The Batong Malake fire squad, however, was quick to respond.
“Tumawag ako ng isang mama, ‘di ko na nga naalala kung sino s’ya. Sabi n’ya s’ya nalang daw ang pupunta sa fire office. Ambilis ng Batong Malake. [I called a man on the street; I can’t even remember who he was. He volunteered to go to (the Batong Malake) fire office. (The) Batong Malake (fire squad) was quick],” said Mrs. Brenda Ramos, owner of the Sizzler’s dormitory and restaurant.
Mrs. Ramos let the fire squad enter the burning house through the front of her restaurant.
“Sabi ko wala po kayong dadaanan sa likod, dito na po kayo dumaan. Buti nalang dito dumaan, kundi kung sakali pati kami damay. Putok lahat ng salamin sa init ng apoy eh. [I said (the firemen) cannot enter at the back, so (they) can enter here (in the restaurant). It’s a good thing they came through here. The fire could have reached us. All of our windows exploded due to the heat],” she said.
Police reports stated that the fire was already under control at 8:58 pm. At 9:05pm, the fire was already out.
“Buti naagapan agad. Kung hindi, malamang mas malaki pa ang naging damage. [It’s a good thing (the fire) was put out immediately. It could’ve caused further damage]”, said PCI Andres Simbajon Jr.
Only the upper part of the house was burned. The house was said to be owned by a certain Velasco family who doesn’t reside there anymore. The lower part of the compound, however, was occupied by the Matias family.
“Kami mismo ‘di pa namin alam ang cause ng sunog… Buti na lang walang nasaktan. [Even we don’t know what caused the fire… It’s a good thing no one was hurt,” said Mr. Froilan Matias, one of the compound residents.
Paoloregel Samonte (with reports from Janica Gan)