Issue of May 21, 2017

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Man’s best friend saves 2 boys from fire in Pacdal Mine Camp

Lander, Wilbur, and Kurt with their pet and hero dog, Miztah


Saved by man’s best friend.

That’s what happened to Wilbur Santos, 14, and his small brother, the 12-year-old Kurt, when fire broke out in their house at the mine camp of Tuba, Benguet’s Sitio Padcal, where Philex Mining Corp. has its gold-and-copper operations, while they were sleeping on Saturday night, May 13.

When Wilbur rose from the bed as he heard Miztah, the family’s pet dog, making considerable noise by barking and scratching the door of their room, he saw their house filled with heavy smoke. It was around 11 p.m. when he woke up his younger brother then they ran outside through the backdoor, and found out that their house was on fire. They immediately roused their neighbors to help them put out the fire, which was triggered by faulty electric wires.

Philex Mining officials said that safety personnel have since been conducting an investigation into the incident.

Left alone in the eight-bedroom bungalow while the rest of the occupants were either at work or on vacation, the two boys fended for themselves with the help of their neighbors, who used pails and buckets of water, as they waited for a fire truck, which managed to completely extinguish the fire by 1:10 a.m. of Sunday.

“I was so nervous when I was called from my work station underground,” said the boys’ father, Lander, 36, a first-class production miner at Padcal’s Mine Crushing and Ore Handling Department. He added, “I was told there was a fire at our place, and I thought of my two boys who were sleeping when I left our house. I was worried about them.”

He thanked the heavens when he saw that his two children were safe, never mind all their appliances and personal belongings went up in smoke.

“If our dog Miztah did not bark and wake us up, I just don’t know what had happened to me and my younger brother,” Wilbur said.

Also sharing his gratefulness, Kurt said, “I am very thankful to God as He used Miztah to save us from the fire. Now we can continue with our life despite what has happened to our home.”

Home to Kurt is an eight-bedroom building in Sitio Padcal’s Purok Upper Camp, a three-bedroom unit of which he shares with his family, including Wilbur, their parents, and two other siblings. Their mother, Annabelle, was with their two siblings in Tabuk, Kalinga Province, having a vacation.

The family staying in the other three-bedroom unit and the two project employees occupying the two other single rooms were also on vacation.

“Nothing was saved from our house, including the belongings of our housemates,” Lander said. “But the lives of my children are the most important. Thanks to God and to our hero dog, Miztah.”


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