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Fire razes Custom warehouse

MANILA – Faulty electrical wiring allegedly triggered the fire that razed a warehouse at the Bureau of Customs (BOC) in Port Area, Manila on the evening of June 1.

Fire officials said the blaze broke out at 9:06 p.m. in Warehouse 159 where seized and abandoned articles for condemnation were stored.

The fire reached the fifth alarm at 9:46 pm as firefighters had a difficult time controlling the situation due to the lack of fire hydrants.. In a fifth alarm level, the district fire marshal of the Bureau of Fire Protection (BFP) is involved in the operations in order to assess the situation and decide if the alarm should be further raised to Task Force level.

“Unfortunately, inabot tayo ng fifth alarm dahil sa kawalan ng fire hydrant na malapit sa area, kinailangan pa nila pumunta sa loob ng BOC para makakuha ng access sa tubig,” ESS Acting Director Isabelo Tibayan III said.

According to Auction and Cargo Disposal Division Chief Oscar Villalba, initial inventory showed that among the articles damaged were non-serviceable vehicles, tires, counterfeit products such as slippers, bags, “ukay-ukay” clothes, and fabrics.

Tibayan said the highly combustible materials stored inside the warehouse caused the fire to spread widely, thereby damaging the entire warehouse. Chemicals which were also housed inside caused the burst of explosions. The fire was declared under control at 11:45 p.m.

Customs authorities have yet to assess the cost of damage.

There were no immediate reports of casualties. (With BOC report)