Miranda Foods will rise from the ashes

Miranda Foods will rise from the ashes

by Rod Escobar Cantiveros

It took nineteen years to build Miranda Foods and it took more than four hours to be destroyed it by arson.

“The only blessing we have is that we got off alive and well,” says Emilio Miranda, the owner and proprietor of Miranda Foods, a Filipino store which had become so popular in the area among the Filipinos and other new immigrants especially from the African nations. “Yes, we lost everything we owned including our personal keepsakes, our mementoes, my wife’s jewelry, even my cell-phone and my denim pants. We do feel as if we were naked,” he said with a bitter smile.

It was in the early morning Saturday while waiting for their daughter to arrive from the party, Emilio smell a smoke. And immediately called 911 and reported in incident.. As per instruction by the 911 Operator, his wife, Nitz woke up their son, Junjun who was sleeping in his bedroom, and with a flash of minutes while the smoke had becoming so intense, they were able to escape and witnessed the spread the fire in the building from the sidewalks. Firefighters came and started fighting the blaze. “It was so devastating to see your business and your dwellings razed by fire,” Emil said with bitterness.

“We were planning to pick-up our daughter that time but when we phoned Jil, she told me that she would just go home. If we had decided to pick-up our daughter and we left Junjun sleeping in his bedroom, the thought of what would have happened to him still gives me a chill,” Emilio said with a shade of tears. “For us, we are all together in spite of the fire which gutted our business and shattered our lives.”

When their daughter Jil arrived from the party, she was welcomed by the intense heat and bellowing smoke. Looking at the crowd, she found her mom and her brother Junjun together and she tried to look for his dad.”I started crying because I did not see my Dad and I had in my mind of what might had happened to him, but gladly, thanks heaven, i saw him coming,” said Jil with tears in her eyes. CTV crew recognized Jil as a young debutante who celebrated her 18th birthday feeding the needy people at Siloam Missions instead of the usual debutante’s party.

“But we will rebuild the Miranda Foods, and I am very thankful for many people who had comforted us of our loss, and the many assurances and support from his friends and customers,” Emilio said.

“This is my favorite store. This is where we buy our meat, our food, and the family owners are very friendly and accommodating. And their meat is cheap and their service to the customer is great,” said Ric, his neighbor who lives in the apartment across the store.

Upon seeing the demolished building, many passersby looked at the eerie scenery. They would like to know if those people living on the second floor were able to escape. Upon learning that the family of four was safe, one lady said: “Thanks God and this will be just like a second lives for them. With that fire which spread so quickly, escaping in that second floor was between life and death.”

As reported by the police, the fire started at the rear and upon investigation, some pranks had set fire on the garbage bins and the fire spread to the building and it seems that most of the fires would start from the garbage bins being burned. Estimated damage to the property is more than $1 million dollars.

The Miranda Foods started in 1993 when two Miranda families, Emilio and Dino Miranda, together with their spouses, Nitz and Lourdes, founded the business. A good combination for the two brothers to start a Filipino store, Dino worked with a meat processing company while Emil worked as a manager of Macs Convenience at Corydon and Renfrew,. It was a perfect mix to operate store in the West End. The family business has been accepted by the Filipinos and other Canadian customers. When a new wave of immigrants arrived mostly coming from the African nations, Miranda Foods has become the store for them especially when the owners started carrying halal meat and other African products.

“Yes, I love this store. And I will miss the meat, the service, Emil and his staff. And I do believe that Miranda Foods will rise from the ashes..just like Phoenix rising from the dark ashes. They are great people to deal with, now, I have to find another store to serve our needs,” one of the African-Canadians who came to see the ruins of Miranda Foods.

Two days after the conflagration which destroyed their business and dwellings, the family members and supporters visited the site. Some had tears in their eyes, and some had to find some consolations that Miranda Foods will rise again from this ruin. “Sa sunog, walang sinisino,” one of the relatives said. (“Fire destroys anybody, anything, no one is exempted.”) “Thanks God that all of you are safe and alive.”

“Emil, see that pair of pants hanging, that’s yours!” Nitz said pointing to the denim pants hanging among the ruins.

“I do hope that pair of pants has my wallet,” looking at the place where the pair of denim pants. And he found something on the ground, a plastic scrapper of fat of the meat. “Oh, this is the only one I saved,” holding it while a photo is taken.

Plans are now being discussed with their insurance adjuster. Emil and Nitz promise that they will rebuild their business. And they want to extend their heartfelt thanks for all the supports they received from their relatives, friends and customers.

Photos by Rod Cantiveros | Filipino Journal