IT was a tragedy that brought together a community.
Private individuals, hotels and hospital workers may not have the skills to put out the blaze but they managed to help in their own way by donating water and food to the tired and hungry firefighters battling a fire that lasted for almost 40 hours.
The Perpetual Succour Hospital, which is located a few blocks from the Metro Ayala Department Store, responded by taking care of the firefighters and volunteers.
“We are praying for their welfare and may the fire be already extinguished,” a hospital official who requested not to be named told SunStar Cebu.
Golden Prince Hotel also donated water and food when the fire erupted in Metro Ayala.
“The whole community helped our men. To the point that we wished for this kind of treatment every time we respond to a fire alarm,” said Supt. Rolando Orbeto, assistant regional director for fire operations of the Bureau of Fire Protection (BFP) 7.
A team from McDonalds delivered iced coffee to the firefighters and volunteers on Saturday night.
The Gaisanos were the first to provide for the firefighters and fire volunteers in the scene since the start of the firefighting last Friday night until yesterday, said Orbeta.
For 19-year-old fire volunteer Mario Casani, it was no easy task fighting a mall fire. Casani, a volunteer of the Guadalupe Fire Station, said that it was the biggest fire that he had faced.
For him, it was a blessing to receive support from generous individuals.
Support from many citizens online also poured out for the BFP 7.
In the SunStar Cebu Facebook page, Neil Gabayan narrated how people clapped when firetrucks passed by their area, on their way to the fire site.
“It makes you realize how great these men were. Hats off to all the firefighters,” he commented.
Arnel Elyarta, a jackhammer operator, and Edwin Sarabia, a driver, were released by the police after the complainants didn’t push through with filing of a complaint.
The two were earlier taken into police custody after they were caught allegedly stealing P4,000 worth of shoes.