I never had plans of posting my experience, being able to come out of the fire incident at NCCC mall, but infos coming out of the news are inaccurate and some are untrue. This is stressful, relieving the bad experience, i couldn’t eat nor sleep. But i believe everyone needs to know.

People tend to believe what they read and hear in the news. If you want the truth, read all the posts of those who survived and see for yourself. Our stories are not made up.

I, Salvador Bhadz Casas Medenilla Jr., an employee of SSI Philippines. I was there and I was able to come out of that fire incident.

Around 9:40 – 9:45(I couldn’t remember the exact time, people came back from meal break and they were already logged back in to dial), we were smelling burning rubber. People were shouting “Bhadz! Smoke on the vent!” Then and there, I hear people instructing and shouting to evacuate. There was NO ALARM AT ALL when the smoke started coming out of the vent. I am no expert but as what i know, sprinklers has sensors. There were no sprinklers at that time. It was the company guards who pulled the alarm. Instructions were clear to go to the fire exit near the elevator and the suspected CR where they were stuck. One person opened the fire exit door and black smoke was coming out. It was too hot, people tried stepping inside but it was already too hot. Alas, sprinklers blasted, but it was just like spit, it spat out a small amount of water and it was black and it was hot. Simultaneously, the lights went out. There was no electricity. It was dark, people started screaming. Smoke was starting to cover us. I maintained composure, I saw my girlfriend and grabbed her and she was at my left arm. At my right arm is one of our agents, at our back is one agent as well, and upfront is our 5 months pregnant agent. I told them to stop crying and cover their mouths. I hear people shouting to go back inside, smoke was up to our knees now. ZERO VISIBILITY. I was just trying to remember how many steps I have to make to get back inside the office. I told them to crouch. ALL OF THESE HAPPENED IN NOT MORE THAN 10 F*CKING SECONDS. And believe me, when I say 10 seconds, it’s 10 seconds.

Our last option was to go to the 2nd fire exit which was about 30-50 meters away(rough estimate). Someone was shouting that the second exit is a bad option as well. But as we came back in the office, smoke was too thick, I was breathing carbon dioxide. I thought that was it, i thought that was the end. God bless those guys who were shouting “GO TO THE LOBBY!” Prolly Sir Lloyd Angeles and Gab’bo Hofileña Delgado. I docked and tried to check where are we situated, and then I saw where the lobby was. So i stood up and guided the people that were with me and i said hold on and run with me. We were able to get out just in time. We tried looking back but the smoke was too thick. As we go down towards the ground floor, the mall guards move as if they didn’t care at all. They were just standing and guiding people to go down right away. We were screaming to them saying “NAA PAY TAO SA TAAS! TABANGI NINYO!” And i can still remember one guard saying “Baba na, Sir.” in a calm way, pushing us to go down and outside the building. They knew there was fire and there was no alarm and no one even cared to inform us. This is why I am saying that I FEEL CHEATED. All we had was a few seconds and some didn’t make it out. Those people are my friends. More than that, we are family.

I am a calm person, but at that time, I lost composure. It hurts writing this. It hurts to tell my story over and over again. It hurts that other people are saying things that are not true. Take it from those who were there that THERE WAS NO ALARM, SPRINKLERS FAILED, FIRE EXIT WAS NOT A GOOD OPTION, AND FIRE DIDN’T COME FROM US. Fire fighters did their best. It was too hot and they couldn’t penetrate. Now tell me, who is to blame? Who are you to say that others could’ve done more? Who are you to say that something could’ve been done? YOU WERE NOT THERE! YOU KNOW NOTHING! Stop posting things that are inaccurate and not true! I know family members of those unfortunate can’t take it as of the moment and they need someone to point and blame, most likely to ask for an explanation of what really happened. My sincerest condolences to those who lost their loved ones. We didn’t just lose friends, we lost those whom we treat as family as well. We are hoping for the truth to come out as well.

Everybody was thinking about those who were not able to come out, but we need to put those who survived into consideration as well. Most of us are suffering from emotional stress and those untruthful and inaccurate posts/news are hurting us.

May this enlighten those who doesn’t know what happened. I was given a few seconds to live and I thank God for that chance. This second life will not be put into waste. Let us continue praying for the souls of our colleagues, friends, and family that didn’t make it out. May their souls rest in peace. I know they are with the Lord now.

WE ARE SSI AND WE ARE NOT TO BLAME. | Salvador Medenilla

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