Binay orders Makati condo closed due to gas leak

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jul 22 2010 09:04 PM | Updated as of Jul 23 2010 08:17 PM

MANILA, Philippines - Makati Mayor Jejomar "Junjun" Binay Jr. has ordered the closure of a condominium in Makati after confirming that a gasoline leak near the building poses a threat to the residents who have refused to leave. 

In a statement, Binay said he has "ordered the immediate closure of the West Tower building in Brgy. Bangkal," after a technical report from the labor department confirmed the presence of "volatile organic compounds and gasoline."

Binay said the Occupational Safety Health Center (OSHC) of the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) has concluded that the presence of these chemicals "pose serious hazard to the remaining 9 tenants who have stubbornly refused to evacuate the building."
 
The report prompted the Makati Fire and Engineering departments to recommend to Binay "the immediate issuance of a closure order" for the building.

Makati City Engineer Nelson Morales said the "West Tower should be totally shut down, with the remaining tenants forcibly evicted if they refuse to leave."

He said the forced evacuation would "facilitate the ongoing investigation of the source of the gas leak." 

Morales said "efforts to drain the sump pit are being hampered by the continued use of water by remaining residents."

Binay also ordered all workers to wear protective gear, including masks, while working in the hazardous area.

The mayor also appealed to the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) to make their own recommendations on the environmental impact of the gas leak.

Makati City Fire Marshall Samuel Tadeo said 5 drums of gasoline have already been collected from the basement since Wednesday night. Gasoline continues to seep through, he said.

Since Wednesday, more than 60 families have already been ordered to vacate their units.

Tadeo fears the leak may cause an explosion. Residents have already been warned against going back, he said.

FPIC denies pipeline is source of leak

In a statement, First Philippine Industrial Corp. (FPIC) said all indications already show that its pipeline near the West Tower is not the source of the seepage.

“In any event, FPIC is closely assisting in the efforts to find the source of the seepage,” the firm said.

Residents have complained of toxic fumes emanating from the basement of the condominium. The leakage supposedly started more than 10 days ago. -- with a report from Pia Gutierrez, ABS-CBN News

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