Customs warehouse goes up in smoke

June 2, 2017 - 2:16 PM
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Firefighters mop up after putting out the fire that struck a customs warehouse. (BOC photo)

MANILA, Philippines — A warehouse at the Bureau of Customs in Manila was razed by fire believed caused by faulty electrical wiring Thursday night.

The blaze struck Warehouse 159, where seized and abandoned articles for condemnation were stored, around 9:06 p.m., the BOC said in a statement.

The agency said there were no immediate reports of casualties.

It also quoted fire officials as saying the lack of fire hydrants in the area made it difficult to control the situation and the blaze reached the fifth alarm around 40 minutes after it broke out. The fifth alarm means the district fire marshal is required to assess the situation and decide if the alarm should be raised further.

Customs authorities have yet to assess the cost of damage. Auction and Cargo Disposal Division chief Oscar Villalba said an initial inventory showed that among the losses were non-serviceable vehicles, tires, counterfeit products such as slippers, bags, clothes and fabrics.

Tibayan said the fire spread quickly because of the highly combustible materials stored inside the warehouse.

The fire was declared under control at 11:45 p.m.