Sharjah: A Filipino couple has expressed gratitude to the Sharjah Civil Defence ‘heroes’ who rescued their cat Belle from their burning residential tower on Tuesday night.
Cherrie Gersalia Pascubillo and her husband John Virgil Pascubillo decided to leave their apartment in Al Nahda tower to buy some food, when 30 minutes later, they returned to find that their building was engulfed in a massive fire — their rescue cat Belle was stuck inside.
“We were so worried,” Cherrie told Gulf News on Wednesday afternoon.
“My husband said he would go out and I was actually hesitant to go with him. Finally, I decided to go — we bought some food together. When we went back, maybe 30 minutes later, we saw the building was already burning,” she said.
“We didn’t think of anything. We thought of Belle only. We knew she was there and we were afraid that she would be in trouble,” she added.
The couple spoke to members of the Sharjah Civil Defence, who called their colleague upstairs, said Cherrie, but it was difficult to get to Belle immediately.
“They were so busy trying to put out the fire,” recalled Cherrie. “Around 1am, my husband went back and spoke to Mr Saeed, the incident commander. He helped us to get Belle from 11th floor. They sent about 10 people there to get Belle.”
Cherrie explained that despite living on the 11th floor, their apartment was technically much higher up than that.
“Actually, it’s not only the 11th floor — because there are about 10 parkings before the residential rooms, so our room would be on the 20th, or 21st floor,” said Cherrie.
“They used the staircase only,” added husband John. “Maybe 30 staircase.”
Thanks to the Sharjah Civil Defence, the couple were reunited with their cat in the early hours of Wednesday morning.
“We got Belle back around 3am. She’s not hurt, she’s fine, but she’s so stressed. She’s very thirsty. She’s not just a cat for us — she’s like a friend, like family. She’s also a rescue cat and she’s very in touch with us,” said Cherrie.
The couple are now staying at Al Salam Grand Hotel in Sharjah, while Belle stays in an office downstairs.
“We cannot take her here in the room, as it’s not allowed to bring pets upstairs. But the security in the hotel took Belle and put her in an office, where there is A/C and all. We bought her food and put her in a crate. She’s safe,” said Cherrie.
The tenant shared the touching story on the UAE Facebook group Bin Kitty Collective, calling the Sharjah Civil Defence the “heroes of our cat Belle”.
“Thank you so much Civil Defence — Sharjah to help us locate and save our cat Belle, salute to Mr Saeed and the rest of his team, you are not only risking your life to save humans but also for animal lives. You are amazing,” she wrote.
Cherrie, who works in insurance brokering, and her husband John, who works at the World Trade Centre, had been living in Al Nahda for one-and-a-half years. They are now unsure whether any of their belongings are safe.
“We went again to the area to see if there’s any news, or whether we can go up to check the situation of our room,” said Cherrie. “Till now, there’s no news. They are still clearing the area, so we are not allowed to go up. But, we are still hoping.”