The Bureau of Fire Protection has declared that a leaking car battery that has been stored along with combustible liquids caused the long fire, which gutted the Manila Post Office (MCPO) building on Lawton Avenue in Manila two weeks ago.
The report was made by the BFP as it terminated its investigation into the fire that hit the historic building on May 22 and raged for 31 hours, razing parcels, letters and government documents, with the damaged pegged at P300 million.
The BFP said the car battery stored in the building’s southern basement along with paints, thinners and cans has self-discharged that triggered a thermal runaway which caused pressure and temperature to increase which triggered an explosion.
The explosion gave way to the fire, which injured several people.
Lawmakers have earlier called for a thorough investigation into the fire that razed the building, even raising the possibility that it could have been a case of arson.
The MCPO building is a neoclassical structure that was designed by Filipino architects Tomas Mapua and Juan Marcos de Guzman Arellano with American architect Ralph Doane in 1925.
The building was destroyed during World War II in 1945 but was rebuilt after the war in 1946.
Image credits: PNA/Yancy Lim