At around 5:14 in the afternoon today while the Catholics are having their usual Maundy or Holy Thursday mass, I felt a bit distracted when almost everyone were looking at our direction and screaming. I've heard crackling. I thought it was their usual fireworks display so I continued watching the YouTube video that I was viewing. The screaming became louder that I got annoyed. I looked at what type of fireworks would they be displaying as they would only be parading. It took me 5 seconds before it could register. The house that is like 10 feet (I may not be good at figures but it's no brainer to figure that it was too close!) from our apartment was on fire!
The first thing that came into my mind was scream and tell my mom that hey the house nearby is burning! The fire was so huge and it scattered way fast that I almost did not know how to react. I couldn't believe it was happening. I always hear people screaming when someone's house is burning. My automatic response would always be, "Oh that's too far to worry". But this time, it isn't too far. The fire was actually right before my very eyes. It's not April fools baby. We were on fire! Really it took me a few seconds before the realization would sink in. I felt like I don't wanna leave. I simply couldn't just believe it.
The very first things that I took were Meagan (my laptop) and my quadro-scriptures (Bible, Book of Mormon, Doctrine and Covenants and Pearl of Great Price)I wasn't panicking, I was actually mentally blocked. Those were the only important things for me. I didn't care about my accessories. I didn't even bother to take a few clothes with me had it not been for my mom who told me. So I packed a few t-shirts. Later did I realize that I only brought t-shirts and failed to pack shorts, undies, and mom's garments. When we saw that the fire was almost reaching the "fire wall" (as our neighbors put it), mom cried. She was worried that all her garments were left in the house. She didn't care about anything else. Only her garments mattered to her. She didn't care about the one sack of rice stored for emergencies. She didn't care about any furnitures in the house. Oh well, I just realized there weren't much. We didn't have much worldly riches so it wasn't difficult for us to leave the apartment. Later did I realize that if the firefighters weren't fast in responding to the situation, we would have to start from the very beginning. That's when the worry started to creep in my senses. I had to buy new clothes. I never wanted to buy new clothes. I wasn't a fan of trendy clothes. I would have to explain to all the people I know that I lost everything I worked for and that I would need their donations. I never wanted to be in such a situation. We survived the typhoon Frank without asking for any help from anyone. While the fire continued to scatter, I was thinking at how the world is currently enjoying playing pranks on other people and simply say, "April fools". I think we were played some prank on. Some real fire for April fools? How's that?
Below is the video of the house nearby that was burning. Notice the man in red. I think it's funny that he tried to run and the stepped back realizing that he couldn't help at all. haha
There were like 4 or so fire trucks that parked in what used to be a peaceful streets of Miramar Subdivision. The sound of their sirens were deafening but I love it. I love the fact that they responded so fast and saved our flat. I couldn't thank them enough. I've heard one heroic firefighter incurred a few cuts in his hands. Bless him, our neighbors said he was cute. It's funny how we just laughed at everything. I know I know, but we were glad that we were safe.
At exactly 5:40 PM, the fire has gradually stopped. Thank God, mom's garments were spared. Thank God I don't have to spend the next few months buying new clothes. Thank God I don't have to beg for some donation. I only had one plea from God at the moment that the fire was almost reaching our apartment. I told him that if I can't get the things I want, at least He'd let me keep what I already have. God is so good, He let me.
Things that I've Learned from the Fire
1. Be Grateful
Keep a grateful heart always. Happy are the people that appreciate what they have as they will eventually have more things to be grateful for. I have been lacking such an attitude lately. I always want something more, something that sometimes I couldn't almost have. The fire helped me realize that in just a blink of an eye, I could have lost everything I currently have if I don't know how to be grateful for them. Thank God we survived and I am still able to tell you about this. I guess that's one of the many things I could be grateful of at the moment.
2. Be Alert
Perhaps the people were screaming for like 5 minutes before I noticed them. I was too drawn to what I was watching and writing that I failed to notice them at their first attempt to warn us that there's a big fire in the neighborhood. I've been a little apathetic lately that even if the world may be fussing about something, I wouldn't care. And then it hit me, they wouldn't care if we'd lose things because of my apathy.
3. Be Ready
We have a 72-hour kit in place. Mom has been so faithful in heeding the counsel of the leaders in our Church to keep one. The funny thing is, we left it when we were "evacuating". Pack essential things in a backpack so that in emergencies like fire, flood, hurricane, earthquake or anything like unto it, you are ready and won't panic.
4. Where Your Heart Is
When you are evacuating, the very things that matters to you are the things that you will bring with you. Mom brought with her her television while I brought with me Meagan. Mom was watching television while I was surfing the net when the fire was burning. I have also brought some documents and believe it or not, I didn't care about my cellphone. I actually have brought with me my pink mirror. haha I don't know, I just snatched it with me while I was in the state of "panic".
Things that You Need for Prepare In Case of Emergency
Now I appreciate floods. Once a fire catch your papers and other important documents, you would be left with nothing but ashes. Place all your important documents like birth certificate, diploma, clearances and other certifications in a single envelope that you could easily snatch with you in case of emergency. Once the calamity is over, you can't simply start over without your credentials. Your future will surely be affected once you lose your important documents, so keep it in one envelope and be sure to bring it with you. You may earn money but you can't easily obtain those documents again. The local NSO, NBI, Police Department and many other government agencies wouldn't care much if you lost it due to some accident, it is your obligation to keep it with you.
I am the type of person who doesn't face a situation with just what's in front of me. I always think about the consequences. I am too obsessed with consequences that I often fail to think about the strategies instead. I was thinking that most people would only look at what happened to us, offer some comfort and that's pretty much about it. At the end of the day, you only have to rely on yourself. Put your money in a bag wherein you could easily bring with you during evacuation.
Maybe my gluttony has overcome me or something but trust me, pack a bag of food that you could bring with you. In times of emergencies, it always helps if you packed some goodies that you can munch on. Mom has an acute ulcer problem and it would have caused me more problem if she was hungry.
As of the moment, I couldn't think much of any other essential things that you can bring with you in case of emergencies. When faced with situations like what we've just experienced, stay calm. Trust me, things will only get worse if you panic.
I couldn't think of anything else while the fire was raging. I simply hum my favorite hymn which is "I am a Child of God" and prayed to my Heavenly Father that He would spare our flat. I prayed that the firefighters would have the strength to stop the fire. I know anything and everything is possible with God's help.
So I guess April Fools us.
It wasn't cool (it was actually hot!) but I've learned the real essence of the Holy Week. Always be grateful for everything that you have because you may lose it anytime. Also, I told mom that if ever we lost our meager possessions, these are just little things that we could actually acquire again in due time and it's important that we do not set our hearts in worldly riches because they would rot. We should focus on riches that this world could not offer, and that could only be obtain if we keep our faith in God.
How about you? How would you respond if your apartment was almost burned like this?