Ozone Disco Fire

In March 18, 1996, at around 4pm local time, the night club or as it is commonly referred to in the Philippines as “disco”, the Ozone Disco caught fire. It happened in Quezon City, Manila.

I had to mention the location to point out that it happened in a metropolitan area where, supposedly, such matters would have been avoided or at least dealt with accordingly in a quick manner. You can just imagine it being in the nation’s capital where police and fire servicemen are within a call away as opposed to it being in a rural area where it would take quite a while for response to reach their destination.

Now I was still in the Philippines when this happened, I was 11 years old and I am 24 now and living abroad. This was a first in the Philippines and it is said to be the worst club fire in the world. More than 160 people died and about 92 others were injured. This incident shook the entire Metro Manila and up to this day, families and friends and simply everyone who knew about this incident still have not coped with the sadness and grief of such a tragic event. As for those of you who are wondering how it happened, well, there are a number of reasons but I think THE most popular and widely accepted FACT was that the “doors open inward rather than out”. If you ask anybody, they will tell you exactly that. When the fire broke out, nobody noticed, when the BLAZE grew that is the only time people realized that there was a fire. It being popular at that time, people would flock to it. It became a symbol of social status and this made it even more popular with the younger generation of that time. That being said, the place was packed and when the blaze grew, people panicked and they all rushed to the ONLY door (see? there’s another reason, just one door and no fire exit) and just imagine, the door opens inward. Even if they tried, nobody could open the doors. Push? how? there was no room. The location of the fated Ozone Disco or simply “Ozone” to most people, is now desolate up to this year of 2009. Now here is where my story begins.

Soon after the incident, the sight of burnt corpses made headlines. May it be TV or newspaper (internet wasn’t mainstream at the time) people would only find the horrible accident that occured there. It had been the news of the year. People would talk about it and could not come to accept how a sad and tragic event could happen. The Ozone disco became a thing of interest, and as you may have already guessed, a great number of “hauntings” have been reported in the area.

This happened a couple of years after the incident. Me and my friend were in a jeepney (public transportation, look it up) at around 9pm on our way to our other friend’s house. Our jeep passes by that route and we would always look out the window at the now desolate place where the Ozone once stood. It was just me and my friend, the driver then told us “You boys keep looking at that place and you just might find something that’ll scare the wits out of you!” I then turned to look and sitting next to the driver was a man with his head turned at 180 degrees looking at me! I could stop yelling curses, luckily the jeep had to slow down for an intersection and i jumped out with my friend pacing after me. The place was filled with local bars (not discos) so there were lights so I was a bit (0.001%) relieved but could not brush the horror out of my shaking self. My friend then asked me “what’s wrong?” I told him “for pete’s sake did you not see it?” He said “saw what?” I interjected “That man on the jeep!!” My friend stopped looking at me with one eye brow raised. He knew (I did to, sorta) that it was just me, him and the driver in the jeep.

Think that was the end of that?

I really had to be a bother that night and had to ask my friend to accompany me home (to which he kept questioning my manhood). Upon arriving home, I told him he could stay, but he’s not one who believes in such “supernatural” things so he refused and left. I was sitting in the couch or “sofa” still feeling my heart go a mile a minute, my mom was still awake chopping vegetables for tomorrow. My uncle, who was a taxi driver, came home. He went to get a drink from the fridge and then sat down with me in the living room. We started chatting.

As much as I hated to bring up anything about the Ozone disco, unfortunately he, my uncle said “that [Ozone] disco, sure is sad isn’t it?” I just said a quick and apathetic “yeah”. He went on to say “I mean it somehow affects [taxi[ business” I said nothing. “I went by the Ozone but did not stop there, a few buildings from it I picked up my last customers for the night before heading home. Then, an old man on a rusty old bicycle started to follow me, he seems too old to be able to catch up, but somehow, he does not want to stop following me. I tried to drive a little faster but my passengers told me not to as they were not in a hurry, to me it sounded like easy cash, I can get a high fare just by going slow. The old man, still in view in my rearview mirror is gaining on me. I came to a red light and had to stop, (around 12 midnight, stoplights in the Philippines take longer to change) the old man, got off his bike, and started walking towards us, he finally stood by my window and knocked two gentle knocks. I promptly, annoyed as I was, turn down the window and asked “There a problem?” and he began to talk in a slow and cracky voice “I noticed you have been driving round the block, are you lost?” I told him “no, my customers are joy-riding”. Told man scratched his chin for a second, my uncle told me and he seemed satisfied enough “But I did notice, your two passengers doesn’t seem to have any heads” said the old man as he picked up his bike and went off.

My uncle stopped there and went to get some sleep.

Ozone is not of this world

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