While at least 37 souls reportedly did not make it in the fire that razed down the NCCC Mall in Davao City, one of the lucky survivors lived to tell the tale.
Valster Huera, a call center agent took to Facebook to tell the public his personal account of the tragedy that struck the NCCC Mall in Davao City, killing his colleagues, friends and supervisors.
Huera calls the tragedy “the worst nightmare of his life” and very traumatic near death experience.
A personal account of what happened yesterday during NCCC Mall fire.
— Our office is located at 4th floor of NCCC Mall Davao. December 23 Saturday, around 10am, we were happily dialing because we’re almost done with the shift. It was the last day of work before the holiday celebrations so everyone was excited to go home.
5-10minutes before 10am, we smelled something burning like plastic or toxic fumes and seconds later, smoke started coming out from our airconditioners. Everything happened so fast because in just a few seconds the smoke started to get very heavy and dark so we all ran to the fire exit near the locker area shaking and shouting. When i got there, i was lucky enough that i was able to get my bag from my locker while my hands were still shaking.
People were already crowded as we approach the fire exit. I heard someone shouting, “Balik kay dili maagian ang fire exit. Init kaau sulod!” (Go back, fire exit is unpassable. It’s so hot inside). So we slowly moved back inside but as we approached the attendance area, people from the 2nd fire exit came rushing towards us and said it’s also unpassable there. We were all panicking and i heard people shouting ang crying as the lights went out, light bulbs started exploding and smoke was already very dark and unbearable. It was almost zero visibility while we were still trapped inside the locker area. I honestly thought i was gonna die that time ‘coz i already had a hard time breathing. The sprinklers did not work so someone who has water with them threw it in the air and i even got some water on me which apparently turned into black ash stains on my jacket. We had no choice so we went back inside the office, and i honestly had no idea where to go as everyone was panicking and running just to be safe.
Suddenly, we saw someone from the lobby waving and shouting to go to the lobby area’s exit towards the mall’s theater so we ran as fast as we could going there. The smoke in the third and second floor was not as heavy as in the fourth floor so i can still see the stairs as i was rushing down and i was able to get out safely in 2nd floor’s exit near the food court. I immediately called my sister, hurried home and started crying really hard when i got home. I have colds so the mucus and the saliva i was spitting had black ashes on them. I can just imagine how heavy the smoke was especially for the people still trapped inside. It breaks my heart to know there were no chance of survival for alot of people still trapped in our facility after the rescue operations that happened overnight. They were my friends, my supervisors, my colleagues and the people i see on the floor everyday for seven years.
This is the worst nightmare of my life. A very traumatic near death experience, and up until now the scene from the locker area keeps on flashing back to me. I still have hopes that everyone inside there are still safe. Let’s all pray for them and for their families. It’s Christmas time and i hope everyone is safe with their family and friends. Stay strong and keep safe everyone.. 🙁 🙁
The post of Huera has gathered at least 19,585 shares, 38,000 reactions and 4,800 plus comments on Facebook.