Wednesday, November 16, 2016

7 hurt as fire razes building housing armory inside Masbate provincial police compound

LEGAZPI CITY, Nov. 15 (PNA) -- A four-hour fire razed an old building that houses seven offices, including an armory, inside the compound of Camp Bonny Serrano, headquarters of the provincial police in Masbate City, at dawn on Tuesday, a top official of the police in Bicol said.

Chief Supt. Melvin Ramon Buenafe, Bicol police director, said seven people living nearby were hit by shrapnel and debris when the armory containing grenades and ammunition exploded after the fire hit the supply room.

He said the fire broke out shortly before 2 a.m. and was declared fire out at 5 a.m.

Aside from the supply room, the blaze engulfed the provincial crime laboratory, intelligence unit, Police Community Relations Branch, Women and Children's Desk, Provincial Internal Affairs office and National Police Commission provincial office.

Buenafe, quoting a Bureau of Fire Protection report, said faulty electrical connections at the office of the intelligence branch could have caused the fire at the 50-year-old building.

Senior Supt. Jerry Biares, Masbate provincial police director, said they are still accounting for the damage due to the fire.

He said the Explosive Ordnance Division was clearing first reports from the crime laboratory that an M203 grenade was stored in the area.

“Probers were not allowed in this area for fear of another bomb explosion,” said Biares.

The burned structure sits in a 100-square-meter lot inside the compound of the provincial police headquarters.

Buenafe said the seven people hurt in the explosion were rushed to a nearby hospital for medical treatment.

They were identified as Clara Otic, 25; Andrino Ayeng, 27; Lenita Mojado, 25; and Michael, 37, Maricel, 32, Seferino, 36, Ceperino, 30—-all surnamed Baranggan. (PNA) LAP/GVR/MSA&JH/EDS