Updated: 05/07/2014 15:59 | By Agence France-Presse

23 hurt as fire, blasts rock Philippine army munitions depot

Twenty-three people were injured when a fire and a series of explosions struck a Philippine army munitions depot near the country's financial district Wednesday, officials and witnesses said.


23 hurt as fire, blasts rock Philippine army munitions depot

Fireman Agrifino Santos is treated at a Philippine army hospital in Manila after a series of explosions struck a Philippine army munitions depot on May 7, 2014 - by Jay Directo

Local television footage showed uniformed soldiers carrying some of the injured on stretchers away from a burning building enveloped in black smoke, while three other victims sat on the pavement awaiting medical help.

"I was a few metres (yards) away when the fire broke and caused a loud explosion," army spokesman Lieutenant-Colonel Noel Detoyato told reporters.

Twenty-three people were treated at a nearby Philippine army hospital, with five soldiers and a civilian among them later moved to other hospitals because they had serious injuries, Colonel Rovelene Bambao, a medical doctor, told AFP. 

Eight soldiers, seven firefighters and a civilian were among the injured, Detoyato said. The identities of the seven others were not immediately known.

The cause of the blaze which razed the munitions supply depot at the Philippine Army Reserve Command was being investigated, he added.

The fire apparently triggered explosions among munitions stored there, he added.

The isolated building is located a few minutes' drive from the Makati financial district in Manila.

Detoyato said the army had ordered the evacuation of nearby offices and commercial buildings as a precaution.

"There is still a possibility there could be more explosions. The area is still very hot, and ammunition reacts to heat," he said.

An AFP photographer saw seven men being treated for various injuries at the army hospital.

"We were hit by flying bricks and broken glass as we retreated from the building," volunteer Manila fireman Agrifino Santos told AFP.

The 40-year-old fireman said his team was dispatched from a nearby district to respond to the fire in late morning and had emptied their water cannon at the blaze when explosions began.

"We hit the ground immediately but we got hit nonetheless," said Santos, his head heavily bandaged and his back scorched after his shirt ignited.

His six colleagues had apparently less serious cuts on their legs and hands.

Philippine Army deputy spokesman Captain Anthony Bacus told reporters he heard a series of small blasts "like firecrackers" as he sat at another army building nearby shortly after the fire alert was raised.

"After about 15 minutes there was a huge explosion," he added.

Latest Photo Galleries on xinmsn

NEWS VIDEOS

MORE NEWS VIDEOS

facebook recommendations

LIVE NEWS RADIO STREAMING

  • 938 Live

    938LIVE is Singapore's only English news and talk station which transmits round the clock with an engaging and enticing spread of programmes on current affairs, health, business and lifestyle as well as news every half hour until midnight.

  • Capital 958


    95.8FM城市频道的前身是"第三广播网"。上个世纪30年代末,新加坡就有中文广播,一路走来经过不少政治,社会局势的改变,中文广播在本地一直扮演举足轻重的角色。