MANILA, Philippines – A week after a fire caused the suspension of Light Rail Transit line 2 (LRT2) operations, the Bureau of Fire Protection (BFP) has allowed the Light Rail Transit Authority (LRTA) to conduct its own investigation of the incident.
Last October 3, two rectifier substations of the LRT2 tripped and caught fire, prompting the LRTA to halt operations of the whole 16.75-kilometer line. LRT2 serves 11 stations – from the Santolan Station along Marcos Highway in Barangay Santolan, Pasig to the Recto Station at intersection of Recto Avenue and Rizal Avenue in Manila.
After an initial assessment, LRTA said it would open the line for partial operations, with the Santolan to Anonas stations inoperable for 9 months.
LRTA spokesperson Hernando Cabrera told Rappler, Thursday, October 10, that BFP-Pasig City has cleared the LRTA to assess the damage to rectifier substation 6 in Santolan.
However, Cabrera said they were still waiting for the clearance from BFP-Quezon City to probe rectifier substation 5 between Anonas and Katipunan.
“It is a clearance basically for us to enter and do what we need to do under our mandate, so kasama na assessment (that includes assesment) as well as to determine facts that may give us [an] idea what may have caused the incident,” Cabrera told Rappler through a message.
The clearance was given a day after the BFP was criticized Wednesday, October 9, during the hearing of the House committee on transportation for the delays in the LRT2 fire investigation.
The LRTA said that the BFP barred them from dismantling the damaged parts, which were encased in an explosion-proof housing. That encasement prevented LRTA personnel from visually assessing the damage.
Even the specialists from Britain whom the LRTA tapped to conduct the investigation were not allowed by the BFP to assess the damage. The LRTA said the situation prevented them from identifying the parts needed to be procured.
LRTA has ruled out arson as the cause of the investigation, since CCTV cameras showed that no one was in the area at the time of the fire.
The LRTA is looking into lightning and equipment failure as other possible causes.
The BFP is set to release its investigation report on Thursday, October 10, after repeated calls from the committee on transportation to release findings from the probe. – Rappler.com