25 injured in PH Army fire, blast
MANILA, Philippines (3rd UPDATE) – Fire hit the Explosives and Ordnance Disposal (EOD) headquarters of the Philippine Army in Fort Bonifacio in Taguig on Wednesday, May 7, burning the entire building and injuring 25 people.
"It started 10:30 am. We saw smoke and heard a series of explosions," Captain Anthony Bacus of the Philippine Army Public Affairs Office told Rappler.
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A series of weak explosions were heard, likely from stored bullets, but Bacus said there was one strong explosion before 11 a.m.
"Malakas, napalakas. Talagang yumanig. Narinig namin. Umabot yung vibration dito sa ano office namin (It was a strong explosion. We felt the vibration all the way to our office)," said Bacus.
The first alarm was raised at 10:28 am, while the fire was declared under control by 11:05 am.
The military said 25 people were treated at the nearby Philippine Army General Hospital including 4 officers, 9 enlisted personnel, and 12 personnel from the Bureau of Fire Protection, said Army spokesperson Lieutenant Colonel Noel Detoyato.
"Most of the victims sustained minor wounds, three suffered from second degree burns, while two had avulsed and lacerated wounds on the face and arm," Detoyato said.
Volunteer Manila fireman Agrifino Santos told Agence France-Presse said they were "hit by flying bricks and broken glass as we retreated from the building."
The 40-year-old fireman said his team was dispatched from a nearby district to respond to the fire in late morning and had emptied their water cannon at the blaze when explosions began.
"We hit the ground immediately but we got hit nonetheless," said Santos, his head heavily bandaged and his back scorched after his shirt ignited.
His 6 colleagues had apparently less serious cuts on their legs and hands.
The Army EOD headquarters is a separate building inside the Army Support Command (ASCOM) complex.
The cause of the blaze which razed the munitions supply depot at the Philippine Army Reserve Command is still being investigated, said military officials. – with reports from Agence-France Press, Marga Deona/Rappler.com