What could have been a couple’s happiest moment turned out a nightmare.
An afternoon fire spoiled their wedding reception in barangay Bulacao, Cebu City, where 27 houses were burned, most of them destroyed, including the newly wed couple’s rented home.
House guests scampered for safety about 3:30 p.m. after hearing shouts that a fire had broken out in the neighborhood.
The bride Anna Marie Sanopao, 27, fled still wearing her wedding gown.
“Nakabati mi nga naay niingon sunog, pagtan-aw namo dako na. Kami og among mga bisita iyahay na lang og panagan,” said Anna Marie, a mall sales attendant.
(We heard someone say there was fire. When we looked, the fire was already big. We all just ran, including the guests,to save ourselves.)
Anna Marie was only able to save three wedding presents. The still-wrapped boxes were on her lap as she sat by the roadside in a cotton duster, which her friend had given her to change into. She and Dionesio Marimon, 29, would have joyfully celebrated five years of living together, this time as a legal union of man and wife, after a wedding ceremony held at the Sto. Tomas de Villanueva parish church in Pardo.
The groom, still dressed in a tie and jacket for the wedding, saved the sound system they had rented for the party.
But the lechon (roasted pig) and all the food prepared for the modest feast was burned. They had spent at least P40,000 for their wedding.
“Makaingon ta nga dimalas ang among kasal pero pagsuway ni sa Ginoo namo,” said Anna Marie. (You can say our wedding was beset by bad luck, but this is just trial from the Lord.)
The husband and wife both work at SM City Cebu and have lived in sitio Renaissance for about four years with their children aged five and two.
They previously worked at Gaisano Capital South, a mall which also caught fire in 2011. Their rented house is six houses away from where the fire was believed to have started. Left homeless, Anna Marie said they are hoping that a kind relative will take them in, preferably someone living in the city because her parents live in Caubian Island off Lapu-Lapu City, too far away from their jobs.
Three persons were injured. Aden Sigue, 36, scraped his left foot. Juanito Abellanosa, 52, had cuts in the right foot while Isidro San Opao, 34, was treated for hypertension and hyperventilation.
Property damage was estimated at P1 million in a sitio where most houses were made of light materials.
A total of 24 houses were destroyed and three were partly damaged, said Cebu City fire investigator Omar Segovia.
Unattended flat iron
The cause of the fire is still being investigated though initial findings point to the house of Francis Tagalog as the origin. There was talk in the community that a flat iron was left unattended but the report still needs to be verified.
Bulacao barangay captain Rodrigo Jabellana will convene a special session of the barangay council today to declare a state of calamity in the sitio.
Fire victims took shelter in the Bulacao Community School Covered Court. A policeman said he lost his service firearm in the fire. SPO1 Fortunato Manilag of the Cebu City Public Safety Company said his government issued M16 rifle and four magazine were left at home, which was among those razed.
The fire was recorded at 3:38 p.m. and placed under control after 20 minutes, said Chief Inspector William Sacaldo of Cebu City Fire Department
It was the third fire to hit a residential area in Cebu in a week since a Valentine’s Day fire left 43 families homeless and ruined 19 houses near B. Rodriguez Street.
Last Saturday, a smaller fire razed four houses and damaged six others in sitio Macro Ville in barangay Camputhaw about 7:30 p.m./Correspondent Chito O. Aragon with reports from Jhunnex Napallacan, Dale G. Israel and Christine Emily L. Pantaleon