My WordPress Blog

Philippines: Inferno rips through Manila’s historic Central Post Office


Bureau of Fire Protection (BFP)/Facebook

Flames engulf parts of the Manila Central Post Office building on May 22, 2023.

Hong Kong

A massive fire broke out at the historic Manila Central Post Office in the Philippine capital late Sunday, with teams of firefighters battling for more than seven hours through the night before it was finally brought under control.

The fire started around 23:45 local time, and the situation was raised to the highest fire alarm level just before 6 Monday before it was brought under control about an hour later, according to the Bureau of Fire Protection.

As firefighters worked to control the flames, thick smoke could be seen billowing from the windows of the neoclassical building, known for its grand entrance lined with ornate columns.

Nahum B. Tarroza, director of the National Capital Region’s Bureau of Fire Protection, told reporters later Monday that the building’s interior wooden structure was burned all the way from the basement to the third floor.

“It’s very sad because this is such an important part of our history,” Tarroza said, adding that papers, books and mail may have fueled the flames.

He said an investigation will be launched into the fire and investigators have not ruled out the possibility of an electrical fault or arson.

Courtesy CNN Philippines

The fire at the Central Post Office in Manila lasted over seven hours May 22, 2023.

The post office building is located in the historic Old Town of Manila near other tourist landmarks along the Pasig River that runs through the capital.

Designed by Filipino architects Juan M. Arellano and Tomás Mapúa, it was first built in 1926. The building was severely damaged during World War II, but was rebuilt in 1946 and most of its original architecture was preserved.

It was declared an “important cultural property” in 2018, meaning the country’s oldest post office was of “extraordinary cultural, artistic and historical significance to the Philippines,” according to CNN affiliate CNN Philippines.

Courtesy CNN Philippines

The fire alarm level was set to the highest level.

Manila Mayor Maria Sheilah “Honey” Lacuna-Pangan said the fire resulted in about $5.4 million (300 million Philippine pesos) in damages, based on Bureau of Fire Protection estimates.

Since the building was declared a national heritage zone, no other type of structure can be built on the site other than the historic post office, she added.

“The City of Manila will work with the national government to jointly help restore the original structure of the Manila Central Post Office where it once stood,” she said.

Bureau of Fire Protection (BFP)/Facebook

The fire was extinguished around 7 o’clock on May 22, 2023.

The building currently houses the Philippine Postal Corporation, the government-run postal service that handles everything from regular mail to parcels and special stamp collections.

Mark Laurente, chief of staff to the postmaster general, said national ID cards were spared from the fire as they were stored in another city, CNN Philippines reported Monday morning.

Leave A Reply

Your email address will not be published.