AT around 8 p.m. last July 14, fire hit a laundry shop at the ground floor of the Acacia Tower at the Suntrust Parkview in Ermita, Manila.
A group of residents led by Engr. Victor Lim want the incident probed due to what they say are a series of violations in condo operations.
Engr. Lim said he and his family were already asleep when they were awakened by a loud whistling sound. Thinking it was caused by water pressure, they checked all their faucets but the sound persisted.
Moments later, they heard a commotion outside their unit and when they opened the door, saw smoke already coming out of the laundry, while black water flowed from it and flooded the hallway and the adjacent units as well.
All that time, the residents now complain, no fire alarm had been sounded and there was no one going around to inform or alert the tenants that a fire was going on.
As the fire progressed, the tenants took it upon themselves to move out and seek safer grounds.
The security guards, they said, were all they saw entering the burning unit and later declaring, after about 30 minutes, that the fire had been put out. There was not one fireman present at the scene.
When Engr. Lim asked the guard why no fireman was called, he was told there was no need for any since the fire was already out. He, along with a couple of other tenants, expressed great worry and insisted that it was protocol that firemen should have been called so they could authoritatively declare a ‘fire out.’ It was only then that firemen assistance was sought.
In the absence of any fire alarm, Lim said it was good that the occupant of the unit right above the laundry shop was awakened by the smell of what she thought was just burning plastic.
As she looked outside her window, however, she noticed flames coming out of the window below and rushed to notify the security guard at the lobby, whose post was a few steps away from the burning laundy shop.
Lim said he noted that since the intercoms were not working, there was no other way for the said female tenant to inform the guard but to go down from the second floor all the way to the lobby.
To the surprise of the affected tenants, they said they saw a big LPG (liquefied petroleum gas) inside the said laundry shop when all along, they thought that only induction cookers are allowed in the units or in condos, as a general rule.
The tenants are now up in arms over what they said as a violation of condo restrictions that posed grave danger to their lives and will continue putting them at risk of burning to death in their sleep if the said laundry shop continues to be allowed to keep an LPG tank inside.
They are now demanding an answer as to why this was allowed, as they are fully convinced that the said tank could not have escaped the notice of the guards and other personnel in the condo complex.
The Suntrust Parkview Condo building is located right beside the SM Manila. It is also just a few steps away from the Manila City Hall and the LRT so that any fire coming from it may affect the said private and government establishments.
Reports from the residents said that the burnt laundry shop runs another one at the second floor of another condo building also inside Parkview.
The tenants there do not only point out another violation but moreso, fear that the other shop could also be keeping a similarly big LPG tank which therefore puts all of them at risk.
In these times of anxiety brought on by the coronavirus, the residents there do not need more sleepless nights worrying about their safety from fire which may break out anytime, even while they sleep, as what happened in the case at hand.
The tenants are thus appealing to the Bureau of Fire and Manila City Hall authorities concerned to look into the violations committed by the said laundry shop as a business establishment and to give sanctions, if warranted.
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