Fire-gutted Customs office off limits as probe rolls


Posted at Feb 25 2019 08:35 AM

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MANILA -- Authorities closed off a Bureau of Customs office that was struck by fire last week, the cause of which was still unknown, an official said Monday.

Friday night's blaze at the BOC office in South Harbor, Manila destroyed some documents that had no back-up copies, Customs Spokesperson Dino Austria earlier said.

Investigators "isolated" the office, which means that "nobody could enter, nobody could get anything out," said city fire marshal Senior Supt. Jonas Silvano.

Authorities are checking the site daily and gathering statements from witnesses and Customs officials, he told DZMM.

The fire started at the 82-year-old building's third floor, where the "top management" held office, Silvano said.

The third and fourth floors were totally destroyed by the blaze, while the second floor was partially damaged, he said. Customs officials have to get a safety certificate before the building can used again, he added.

The bureau's office burned on the same night that a massive blaze swept through some 350 houses of illegal settlers in the nearby Parola Compound.

DZMM, 25 February 2019