Just five days before Christmas, the house of actress-environmentalist Chin-Chin Gutierrez on 115 B. Gonzalez St., Loyola Heights, Quezon City, was completely ruined by fire.
According to Chin-Chin's neighbors, the fire started at around 3:30 in the morning today, December 20. The neighbors saw Chin-Chin outside her house calling for help.
"Si Chin-Chin nandiyan sa may semento, nakasigaw. Hinahawakan niya yung kamay niya. Sumisigaw siya, ‘Help!'" said an unidentified female neighbor.
It was reported in GMA-7's Unang Hirit that the fire started on the second floor of the house. Since the house is made of wood, the fire quickly spread throughout the house.
Another unidentified female neighbor said Chin-Chin suffered injuries while helping her mother, Cecilia Gutierrez, and their helpers out of the burning house.
"Nakita ko po siyang may sunog po yung dalawa niyang kamay. Tapos yung buhok niya po, sunog din," said the neighbor.
The actress and her mother were reportedly rushed to Medical City for treatment. Chin-Chin's mother, who is suffering from diabetes, is still in critical condition.
Chin-Chin, on the other hand, suffered second-degree burns.
Meanwhile, one of Chin-Chin's neighbors remarked that the entire house could not have turned into ashes if the firemen had arrived on time.
"Kung dumating yung bombero nang maaga, siguro hindi nasunog lahat yung bahay. Late-late na dumating yung bombero, ang tagal."
A certain Oscar Villegas from the Quezon City fire department explained that their response time is dependent on the time they receive the call.
He said, "Alam n'yo minsan, kumporme sa tawag e. Sa amin, [‘pag] natanggap namin, takbo agad kami e. Ang istasyon naman natin, meron tayong truck dito, nasa City Hall yung isa. Nandito yung isa sa may Project 4, malapit lang naman dito sa Katipunan. Kaya kung talagang nakatawag agad nang maaga, makakatakbo kami nang mas mabilis."
It took more than an hour before the fire was placed under control.
GMA News.tv also reported that the fire, which reached the third alarm, destroyed some P1 million in property and damaged two of the actress's vehicles parked outside the house.
No other houses were affected by the fire. One of the neighbors of Chin-Chin is singer-composer Jim Paredes who is currently out of the country.
Chin-Chin is a mainstay of the ABS-CBN primetime drama series Maging Sino Ka Man.