The Bureau of Fire Protection (BFP) has ruled out foul play in the May 21 blaze that gutted down the historic Manila Central Post Office (MCPO) in Liwasang Bonifacio, saying the cause of the fire was “purely accidental in nature”.
Reacting on the BFP report, the Philippine Postal Corp. said in a statement said the case was “considered closed and solved.”
“The Philippine Postal Corporation (PHLPost) already got hold of the fire clearance certificate issued by the BFP saying that the fire originated at the southern part of the basement, more particularly at the Mega Manila Storage Room (GSS) where office supplies, thinners, paint cans where piled in close proximity to the car batteries stored inside the room,” the statement read.
The BFP theorized that some of the post office building’s combustible materials, among them a discharged car battery, paints and lacquer thinner, which were stored in closed spaces “greatly influenced heat build-up” that subsequently triggered an explosion, giving rise to the blaze.
“On the determined cause of fire, it has been established based on thepieces of evidence gathered, that the statement of the witness and the result of the laboratory examinations, that the cause of fire is attributed to sudden self-discharge of car battery (sulfation) resulting to thermal run-away, causing sudden build-up of heat and pressure and eventually cause the explosion,” the PHLPost said.
“Moreover, the presence of the internal short circuit, the hydrogen and the volatile gases contained in the battery and the presence of oxygen as the oxidizing agent initiated the ignition. The contributory factors and the combustibility of materials fueled and sustained the ignition sequence,” the state-run firm added.
The Senate has created a special committee that would oversee the rehabilitation of the MCPO which was eaten up by the massive fire last May 21.
Sen. Robinhood Padilla sought a Senate probe into the incident as he pressed for better “policies for the preservation and protection of cultural properties.”
The BFP surmised that the car battery acted up and set off the blaze.
PHLPost postmaster general Luis Carlos said they fully accept the result of the BFP’s investigation, setting the stage for the recovery and rehabilitation of the heavily damaged structure.