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3 injured in fire that hit radio station in Camp Aguinaldo

/ 10:55 PM December 11, 2017
Nelson Gonzales and Pete Canzon

Nelson Gonzales (left) and Pete Canzon co-hosting the weekly “Tago Jazz Hour.“ This still was taken from a recording of a livestream of their show last Nov. 12, 2017.

Three people were injured in a fire that broke out, apparently caused by an electrical malfunction, on the third floor of the Philippine Veterans Association Office (PVAO) in Camp Aguinaldo on Sunday evening.

This information was relayed to the Inquirer by one of those injured, 42-year-old Nelson Gonzales, who was trapped for a few minutes inside radio station DWDD on the third floor shortly after starting his weekly show, “The Tago Jazz Hour,” which he co-hosts with 66-year-old saxophonist Pete Canzon.

According to Gonzales, the fire started at around 6:30 p.m., quickly spreading through the ceiling. In seconds, the radio booth was engulfed in thick smoke. Canzon wandered around in the room, as the power was shut down – and it was pitch dark.

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Gonzales quickly got down on all fours and crawled towards the door. Feeling the heat of the fire and inhaling some smoke he moved back and got into another room with windows. But the windows had bars.

Then he bumped into Canzon nearby. He told Canzon to follow him back into the radio booth.

Some soldiers on duty outside started banging on the wall of the radio booth from outside.

Gonzales and Canzon started yelling, but the soldiers couldn’t get to them.

Some soldiers at the main entrance to the floor yelled back and didn’t stop so the two could follow their voices.

They crawled until they saw light and were able to get out on a roof deck on the same floor.

The only other person on the same floor at that time, Army radio technician Dex Orata, was also able to get out.

By this time, the fire had gone out, as fire trucks arrived.

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Someone whose name they were not able to get took them to the camp infirmary on a motorcycle.

They got some first aid there.

But for lack of facilities, they had to be transferred to St. Luke’s Medical Center on E. Rodriquez Avenue, also in Quezon City, where they were treated for smoke inhalation.

Gonzales and Orata were discharged after a few hours. But Canzon, who was suffering from asthma, had to be put in an intensive care unit because he had difficulty seeing and breathing.

Gonzales said the fire was apparently caused by faulty wiring of Christmas lights installed on the third floor.

Gonzales is a drummer and owner of Tago Jazz Cafe, where Canzon plays every Saturday. /atm

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TAGS: DWDD station fire, Nelson Gonzales, Pete Canzon, PVAO fire
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