Septuagenarian saves wife, maid in Saturday night fire | Inquirer News
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Septuagenarian saves wife, maid in Saturday night fire

24 families left homeless in barangay Guadalupe
/ 04:08 PM September 23, 2013

Despite his advanced age and declining health, a 72-year-old man managed to lead his 66-year-old wife and housemaid to safety by lifting a heavy bamboo ladders and used it to get out of their burning home in sitio Nicka, Cabajar Street, barangay Guadalupe at 11:26 p.m. last Saturday.

Eugenio Banaay and his wife Rosario sustained cuts and bruises after they scratched themselves while climbing out of the barbed wire fence surrounding their two-story house.

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Their house was among the 14 structures razed in a fire that also displaced 24 families living in a compound.

Another fire broke out in barangay Lahug, near Golden Cowrie and Northwinds Hotel at 5:30 p.m. yesterday.

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The fire was under control 15 minutes later.

Damages have yet to be reported as of deadline time.

The Guadalupe fire reportedly originated from the house of 37-year-old Reynante Luang, a delivery driver working in one of the malls in Cebu City.

Luang said he heard an explosion near the window of his two-story house.

He looked outside and saw the galvanized iron sheets on fire.

The strong wind fanned the flames causing the fire to spread to neighboring houses and to other parts of Luang’s home.

The fire nearly burned Luang’s 14-year-old son Lorence Kent who was sleeping near the window.

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The Banaay couple did not hear the shouts of their neighbors who were alerting them to flee and were the last to know about the fire.

Their maid, Aileen Zamora, however managed to wake them up.

Eugenio got hold of two bamboo ladders which they used to get out of the fire scene.

Eugenio placed one of the bamboo ladders on a Malunggay tree over a fence festooned with barbed wire and anchored the other ladder on their neighbor’s fence.

“If it weren’t for the ladders, we would have died already,” Eugenio said.

“It’s as if I was back to 17 last night because I couldn’t imagine myself climbing that ladder again now that there is no fire,” Eugenio said in Cebuano.

Eugenio told the media that he prepared the bamboo ladders since he built their house 33 years ago.

He said the ladders would save them in case of emergencies because they are located in the end portion of the compound.

“The ladders were really useful because I know that if there is fire in the corner, we could no longer go out (Nagamit jud ang mga hagdanan kay nahibalo jud ko na di na mi makaagi kung naay sunog sa unahan),” Eugenio said.

It took half an hour for firefighters to control the fire because the compound is located in the middle of sitio Nicka which can only be reached through a narrow road. The fire was controlled at 12:14 a.m. yesterday.

Passage or right of way has been a problem in the area since 2009 and the residents have filed a case in court, Renante said. Most of the displaced victims were housed temporarily in the barangay hall.

The Department of Social Welfare and Services (DSWS) of the Cebu City government gave meals to the victims a few hours after the fire.

The meals will be good for three days. “Hopefully by Tuesday, we can already give out the cash and other assistance to the victims,” said DSWS chief Ester Concha.

Each family is entitled to P10,000 cash assistance from the city government.

The Cebu City Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office (CCDRRMO) said the victims will also receive one week’s supply of rice, noodles and canned goods.

They will also receive houseware and construction materials, said Alvin Santillana, disaster management operations chief. /Christine Emily L. Pantaleon, Correspondent with Correspondent Jose Santino Bunachita

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