IT has been said that dogs are man’s best friend.
This was proven by Elvin Eran and Nela Misterio when a fire hit Barangay Tipolo in Mandaue City last Thursday dawn.
Their three Chihuahua and Dachshund pets woke them up, prompting them to immediately run for safety.
Elvin and Nela’s house was just a few meters away from the house of the Paz family.
Antonio Paz, 34, together with his 32-year-old wife, Maricel, and 10-year-old son, Anceljay, were killed after they were trapped inside a bunkhouse.
The bunkhouse was located behind Melgo General Sales Inc. (MGSI), where Antonio worked as a truck boy for 13 years.
When the incident happened almost 4 a.m. last Thursday, 42-year-old Elvin and 52-year-old Nela said that their Chihuahuas—Tiny, Paris and Betchay—and Maui the Dachshund became restless.
“They were climbing and stepping on me. When I woke up, I saw the flames,” Nela said.
Elvin and Nela immediately got out of their house and called on the Paz family.
They then asked for help from their neighbors, who threw water at the Paz family’s burning house.
Firefighters from the Mandaue City Fire Station (MCFS) was able to put out the flames few minutes after it started.
They then found the charred bodies of the Paz family.
Elvin, head for operations of MGSI, said that Antonio previously had an Aspin (Asong Pinoy) dog in their house, but after it bit a customer of their company, Antonio isolated the animal and tied it away from their house.
“Had the dog been tied near their home, they might have been saved because the dog will definitely bark if something is wrong,” Nela said.
SFO3 Arnold Lao, chief for operations of MCFS, acknowledged the help of the dogs when the fire happened.
“Without the dogs, they would not know that something was happening around them,” Lao said in Cebuano.
MCFS collected samples of ashes in the kitchen area and electrical wires from the Paz family’s bunkhouse to determine the cause of fire.
A laboratory test will be conducted in the Bureau of Fire Protection-Crime Laboratory in Manila.
MCFS ruled out arson as the cause of the incident.
In an interview, Lao said firefighters found Antonio’s body near the emergency exit of MGSI’s building, which the latter closed after he built the bunkhouse for his family.
He said Antonio probably tried to open the emergency exit after seeing that their main door was no longer passable, but failed.
Elvin recalled playing basketball with Antonio, his close friend, after their work last Wednesday.
Little did he know that it will be the last time he would see Antonio.
Elson Eran, 37, remembers Antonio as a jolly person whenever they are at work.
He said he cannot believe that they died from the fire. (FMG)