Iconic Post Office turns into ruins

7 injured after fire razes historic building


At least seven persons were injured when a seven-hour midnight-to-morning fire turned the iconic Philippine Postal Corporation-Manila Central Post Office at Liwasang Bonifacio Magallanes Drive in Ermita Manila into ruins.

Based on the initial report by the Manila Bureau of Fire Protection, the fire broke out at 11:43 midnight that reached general alarm until it was declared under control at 7:22 a.m.

The BFP placed the damage to the gutted Manila Central Post Office building to more or less P300 million as probers continue to investigate to determine the cause of the blaze.

Due to the intense inferno, the fire investigator on the case SFO4 Domingo Mendoza Jr. reported that 42 BFP and 40 fire trucks responded to the scene while seven ambulances were on standby during the blaze.

The fire started in the basement of the building that quickly reached the fourth floor.

Most of the injured victims were firefighters, among them are: FO2 Joel Libutan; FO1 Carlo Abrenica; SFO2 Julio Erlanda; FO2 Jeremy Roque; FO1 Josaphat Araña, who suffered a burn on the left arm; Toto Doslin and Elaine Dacoycoy who sustained fracture.

P300-million damage

Based on the BFP estimate around P300 million worth of properties were damaged.

As of press time, authorities have yet to declare a fire out as there are still some burning materials inside hence, it is still not safe for anyone to enter the building.

An investigation is still ongoing to determine the real cause of the fire.

The Philippine Statistics Authority said Monday the Philippine identification cards or PhilIDs for delivery by Philippine Postal Corporation or PHLPost outside Manila City were unaffected by the fire at the Manila Central Post Office.

“Based on the initial information provided by the PHLPost, only PhilIDs for delivery in the City of Manila were affected by the fire,” said Dennis Mapa, undersecretary of the National Statistician and Civil Registrar General, said.

He added: “We wish to clarify that PhilIDs for delivery of the PHLPost are sorted and stored at the PHLPost Central Mail Exchange Center in Pasay City and were unaffected by the fire.”

Mapa said, adding that damaged PhilIDs will be replaced at no cost.

Meanwhile, Manila Mayor Honey Lacuna has offered the local government unit’s help.

In a brief statement, Lacuna said the postal services operation and its employees could be transferred to their office in the port area where they could continue providing services to the public.

She allayed fears that the building will be replaced citing the declaration of zoning for heritage which states that any building declared as a heritage site by the national government could not be replaced due to its historical value and only the renovation of the building or the construction of a new one but with the same structure are allowed.

Sad news

Postmaster General Luis D. Carlos said the fire was truly sad news since the Post Office is a heritage site and is frequently visited by people.

“We express grief and saddened by this unfortunate incident. We didn’t expect this to happen, but we assure the public that all PHLPost branches are going business as usual. There is a nearby post office in Manila and other parts of Metro Manila where the public can send their mail and packages,” Carlos said.

He added: “We are closely coordinating with the Bureau of Fire on the possible cause of the fire. The Manila Central Post Office and its main offices will look for a temporary office and our letter carriers will be housed at the nearby post office.”

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