Prioritize Post Office fire probe, BFP told

Department of the Interior and Local Government Secretary Benjamin “Benhur” Abalos Jr. on Wednesday ordered the Bureau of Fire Protection to prioritize the investigation of the Manila Central Post Office fire incident.

The inferno at the Manila Central Post Office building lasted for 30 hours since the first alarm was raised at 11:41 p.m. on Sunday, 21 May. At 6:33 a.m. on Tuesday, 23 May, the BFP declared fire out on the gutted historical landmark post office.

“We must get to the bottom of this unfortunate incident at all costs and at the soonest possible time. That is why I am calling on the BFP to prioritize the investigation of the Manila Central Post Office fire and exhaust all means necessary to find out the cause of this incident that destroyed one of the country’s architectural heritage and national historical landmarks,” Abalos said.

In its initial investigation, the BFP disclosed that the blaze started at the basement of the building where materials made of paper and wood are stocked.

Due to the intense heat, the BFP said the fire spread to the other floors of the building where parcels and several national identification cards, among others, were reduced to ashes.

The DILG said the damage caused by the fire at the post office is estimated at P300 million but BFP officials said it may reach more than P500 million.

Abalos cited the BFP personnel and fire volunteers for risking their lives in responding to the call of duty, referring to reports that 18 responding firefighters were injured during the incident.

“I commend the gallant men and women of the BFP, as well as our volunteer firefighters who have shown heroism and courage in the face of adversity,’’ he said.

He also directed them to ensure that the injured firefighters and volunteers get the appropriate assistance.


Insurance claim

Meanwhile, Senator Chiz Escudero said the restoration of the Post Office building must have its seed fund proceeds from the fire insurance claim.

This was Escudero response to the Government Service Insurance System’s commitment to assist the Post Office in its restoration and repair of the nearly 100-year-old neoclassical landmark.

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