By Rodney Jarder Jr. and Julius Mariveles
BACOLOD CITY, Negros Occidental, Philippines – Apple Abrico remembers the flames spreading quickly from her next-door neighbor’s house.
It was early, around 7am, when the blaze gutted a row of houses inside a housing area in Purok 7, a sub village in Villamonte.
The two adjoining compounds along Maso Street is where several families live, mostly surnamed Abrico, some Quilip, in at least 10 houses.
“We were in panic,” Apple tells DNX in Hiligaynon as she recalls how she snatched her laptop computer and a few belongings then rushed to their house’s second level.
She jumped through a window and landed unhurt on the ground about six feet below.
Apple said she is lucky to have survived with her mother and husband.
Her two dogs, however, were not as lucky.
Firefighters found them stiff, choked by smoke, under an aquarium.
Fred Quilip, another resident, also lost many of his belongings but he helped alert his neighbors and aided firefighters in putting out the blaze.
Apple buried her dogs, Haki and Karo, at noontime today.
Nestor Abrico, meanwhile, also felt sad when he saw the burnt full-sized United States flag inside his house.
He said he got it from his father, a war veteran who fought with American soldiers.
The local fire bureau is still probing the incident.