From dusk to dawn
Metro Cebu’s firefighters worked night and day to put out the fire that hit Metro Ayala
Twenty-year-old firefighter Carl Omega had not slept hours as he and fellow firefighters had their hands full trying to put out the blaze inside Metro Ayala at the Ayala Center Cebu mall in the Cebu Business Park.
Not that he’s complaining. “Mas maayo na lang nga kita ang motabangan kaysa kitang ang tabangan. Serbisyo man ning atoa. (It is better to help others than us asking for help. What we are doing is service),” Omega told Cebu Daily News.
Omega, a firefighter of Barangay Sambag 2 in Cebu City, was among the first to respond when the fire broke out at Metro Ayala at 9:44 p.m. last Friday.
The heat and thick smoke from the inside made the job tougher on him and the others.
“Grabe gyud kainit sa sulod. Bisan duna mi breathing apparatus, dili mi kaatraka tungod sa kainit og sa kagrabe sa aso (The heat inside the building was too much. Even if we had the breathing apparatus, we could not do what we wanted due to the heat and the thick smoke),” he said.
Despite this Omega, a firefighter for seven years now, said they won’t easily give up.
“Dili mi moundang hangtud dili namo mapawang ang kayo (We would not stop until we put out the fire),” he said.
Omega said the task at hand is not easy, but he understood that they need to do what is expected of them.
“Duna pud mi kahadlok apan naa ra na nimo kon magpadala ka sa imong kahadlok (We too have fears but we should not be overtaken by fear),” he said.
Omega, a fourth year criminology student of one of Cebu’s universities, said the management of Metro Ayala has been providing food and gasoline to the firefighters.
That was one less thing to worry about for another firefighter, Clenn Partulan, who felt overwhelmed by the blaze.
“Grabe gyud ang kainit og aso (The heat and smoke are too much),” said Partulan who was drenched in water during the interview.
At least 50 fire trucks responded to the fire alarm at Metro Ayala since Friday evening.
At 8:45 a.m., the fire department had raised the fire alarm into Task Force Bravo, which meant all fire stations from Danao City down to Naga City were asked to respond to the fire alarm.
The fire at Metro Ayala has been “contained in the area” but was still not under control as of 5 p.m. yesterday.
Two jackhammers and a crane were used to drill into the department store’s walls and roofs to ventilate the building.
The fire broke out at 9:44 p.m. from the storage room of the toy department located on the third floor.
It spread to the upper floors and the second floor. The department store’s two basements and ground floor were spared from the flames.
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