Fire-hit Manila Central Post Office set for inspection –city engineer

Manila’s City Engineering Office has received the go-signal from the fire department to inspect the fire-hit Manila Central Post Office to check its structural integrity.

Interviewed on Unang Balita on Wednesday, Engr. Armando Andres said they will start the inspection at 9 a.m.

“Puwede na raw kaming mag-inspeksiyon so magjo-join ‘yung kanilang team, ‘yung mga investigators ng fire department,” he said.

(The fire department said we can now conduct an inspection and their team of investigators will join us.)

The inspectors will check the beams, columns, and steels of the burned establishment, according to Andres.

Citing information from the fire department, Andres said some of the steels were already bent.

Andres said Manila Mayor Honey Lacuna-Pangan on Monday ordered the creation of a team that will check the structural condition of the burned historical building, which was built in the 1920s.

Asked if the building should be condemned or rehabilitated, Andres said it would depend on their findings on its structural integrity.

He said if the building’s structure is severely weakened by the fire and could not be rehabilitated, they will declare it condemned.

“Kung hindi na po natin maisasalba, hihina na yung mga structural members, ide-declare namin siya na condemned [If we cannot save it, the structural members are weak, we will declare it condemned],” he said.

“Pero kung kaya pang i-retrofit, i-renovate, ‘yung po ang gagawin natin (But if we can retrofit or renovate it, we will do that),” he added.

For the buildings under the management of the National Historical Commission, Andres said that in some cases when the establishment is considered condemned, its facade is retained.

“Minsan po ang ginagawa kapag condemned na yung building, ide-demolish na pero ire-retain mo yung facade. So kapag pinagawa mo, yun pa rin yung mukha ng… mangyayari dyan sa Manila Central Post Office,”

(In some cases, when the building is condemned or is for demolition, the facade is retained. So if you rehabilitate it, the face of the building will be the same.)

After more than 30 hours, the fire at the Manila Central Post Office, which started late Sunday night, was declared out on Tuesday at 6:33 a.m.

The fire was believed to have started in the basement of the building and immediately reached the top floors.

It reached first alarm at 11:41 p.m. on Sunday and general alarm, or its highest fire alarm level, at 5:54 a.m. on Monday.

Eighteen people, most of them firefighters, were reported hurt. Their injuries ranged from lacerations to first-degree burns. Some casualties also felt dizziness and chest pain.

At least two structures inside the building were burned and the estimated cost of damage was P300 million, according to the bureau. –KBK, GMA Integrated News

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