A firefighter from the Philippine Air Force (PAF) sprays water to the house that caught fire Monday morning along Roxas Street in Barangay Tagumpay, Puerto Princesa City.

An 80-year-old woman living alone escaped unharmed after her two-storey house caught fire around 2:30 a.m. Monday along Roxas Street in Barangay Tagumpay, Puerto Princesa City.

Norma Sandoval, the owner of the property that also houses a carinderia and tailoring shop below, was rescued by Peter John Española, who saw the fire from his rented room in a boarding house nearby.

“Mabuti na lang po may fire exit dyan sa gilid. Mausok na sa loob… inakyat ko po akala ko kasi andyan sila ate. Inakyat ko doon sa may gilid, sa may bakod. Sabi ko sa may fire exit na kami dumaan, natataranta po [siya]. Mag-isa lang siya, tapos dito na paglabas namin, andyan na din yong ibang [kapit bahay],” Española narrated.

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Puerto Princesa City BFP firefighters in front take a moment to rest after putting out the fire that burned the Sandoval residence in Brgy. Tagumpay.

“Sa front dyan sa may tindahan ang sunog, eh. Ginigising ko sila, akala ko may tao dyan — mag-isa lang siya, nataranta na siya kung ano ang gagawin niya. Mga 2:30 a.m. po [nangyari],” he added. Española noticed the fire while he was reviewing for an exam.

Sandoval thanked Española for saving her.

“Hindi ko na alam kung ano ang nangyari. Dyan sa kabila, yong mama, inano [iniligtas] ako… sabi ko dito tayo dumaan sa likod kasi hindi ako makakaakyat noong pader kasi mataas. Sabi ko dito merong pinto, ayon doon kami dumaan. Lumabas na kami,” she said.

“Salamat sa Diyos hindi tayo nasaktan, at nakalabas naman kami,” Sandoval added.

Puerto Princesa Bureau of Fire Protection (BFP) chief Nilo Caabay, who was at the scene, declared the fire under control around 4 a.m.

He stated that an investigation into its cause would be done. CCTV footage from nearby establishments will be obtained as well, as they may have captured the onset of the fire.

Witnesses who spoke to Palawan News on the condition of anonymity said a motorcycle driver passed by and flicked a cigarette into a rubbish can in front of the property.

“Wala pa as to the cause of the fire. Naka-focus lang muna sa firefighting operation. Iimbestigahan pa lahat natin yan,” Caabay said. “Kontrolado na. Pero kanina sabay-sabay naubusan ng tubig yong mga truck namin kaya nag-worry tayo kanina na baka lumipat, pero na-kontrol naman”.

“Kung may tumawag nang maaga, maaga rin ang response. Kung late ang tawag, late din ang response. Katulad kanina, pagdating ng tropa natin naka-buwelo na ang apoy. Paalala natin, ang kaligtasan ng ari-arian natin nakasalalay sa atin, dapat sa ganitong sitwasyon, unang gawin natin tumawag sa kinauukulan, sa fire, sa amin,” he added.

Six fire trucks from the City Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office (CDRRMO), Puerto Princesa City Water District (PPCWD), and Philippine Air Force (PAF) responded to the incident and helped the BFP.

Caabay said this is the first fire incident on their record this December. (with reports from Celeste Anna Formoso)

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covers the police beat and other law enforcement agencies in the province. Her interest includes traveling and photography.