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Manila Central Post Office fire out after over 30 hours

By NICK GARCIA Published May 23, 2023 10:10 am

The fire that hit the Manila Central Post Office was declared out on Tuesday morning, May 23, after over 30 hours since it started on the night of May 21, Sunday.

The Bureau of Fire Protection (BFP) said the fire has been put out at 6:33 a.m.

Some 15 individuals, including firefighters, were reportedly injured due to the fire. Injuries included first-degree burns, lacerations, dizziness, and chest pain.

Alejandro Ramos, chief of BFP Manila's investigation and intelligence section, said the extreme heat and lack of ventilation in the Post Office basement proved to be a big challenge for firefighters.

The fire was believed to have started in the basement where paper and wood are being stored. It reached the third level, with floors made of wood. Various items inside the building, including parcels and some national identification cards, were destroyed.

Authorities are still investigating the cause of the fire, which the BFP estimated to have caused P300 million in infrastructure damage.

Sen. Robinhood Padilla, meanwhile, filed a Senate resolution calling for an investigation into the incident.

Padilla said there's a need to revisit and assess the effectiveness of existing preservation and protection measures for the country's cultural heritage.

The Post Office fire happened past 11 p.m. of May 21 and was raised to a second alarm at 1:09 a.m. The highest level general alarm was declared at 5:54 a.m., and the fire was declared under control at 7:22 a.m., or after about eight hours.

The Post Office serves as the country's main mail sorting and distribution operations, as well as the headquarters of the Philippine Postal Corporation.

The neoclassical-style building, designed by Juan Arellano and Tomás Mapúa, is a national historical landmark.

Construction began in 1926, but was severely damaged at the Battle of Manila during World War II. It was rebuilt in 1946, in which much of the original design was kept.