By Martin Sadongdong
Manila residents who were staying inside their homes because of the enhanced community quarantine were gripped by panic and fear when a fire broke out in Barangay 101, Tondo on Monday night.
The fire started at 6:33 p.m., according to TXTFire Philippines on Twitter, and damaged one apartment unit located on the ground floor of the four-storey Building 24.
Prior to the incident, residents told Manila Bulletin they heard an explosion. Minutes later, thick, black smoke engulfed the unit which was beside a main stairway, trapping the residents on the upper floors.
A man residing on the second floor said he jumped off their roof along with his crying son out of fear.
Neighbors who were in strict home quarantine rushed out and fetched water from their own houses as they tried to contain the blaze just as a firetruck responded in time.
At least a dozen more firetrucks came shortly, causing a momentary traffic gridlock along the busy Road 10.
The fire was declared out around 7 p.m.
Arson investigators have yet to determine the amount of damage to property and the cause of the fire.
However, a certain Yolly, the owner of the burned unit, said she was cooking their dinner when the incident happened.
“Ang bilis ng pangyayari. Ang naisip ko na lang makalabas kami agad,” she said. (Everything happened so fast. I just thought we needed to get out immediately.)
Yolly’s husband, Henry, collapsed while the fire was being put out but gained consciousness after the incident.