Fire destroys historic Philippine post office building

AFP , Monday 22 May 2023

A huge fire destroyed a historic post office in the Philippine capital Manila, injuring seven people, officials said Monday.

Philippine
Firemen fold a Philippine flag in front of the Manila Central Post Office after it caught fire early Monday, May 22, 2023 in Manila, Philippines.AP

 

More than 80 fire trucks were sent to the decades-old landmark after the blaze broke out late Sunday, the Bureau of Fire Protection said.

Thick, black smoke billowed hundreds of metres into the sky as flames gutted the neo-classical Manila Central Post Office that overlooks the Pasig River.

It took firefighters more than seven hours to get the inferno under control.

"The whole building has burned down from the basement all the way to the fifth floor," Postmaster General Luis Carlos told DZBB radio.

The cause of the blaze was being investigated, he said.

Fire brigades from across the capital deployed personnel to fight the blaze. The damage bill is estimated at 300 million pesos ($5.4 million), the fire bureau said.

Six out of the seven people injured were firefighters.

Originally built in 1926, the post office was once considered the "grandest building" in Manila, according to its website.

It was destroyed in World War II as US forces recaptured the capital from Japanese occupation forces, and rebuilt in 1946.

The Philippine National Museum declared the building an "important cultural property" in 2018.

Letters, parcels and the postal agency's entire stamp collection were in the building and are likely destroyed, Carlos said.

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