MANILA—The Bureau of Fire Protection (BFP) on Monday said the fire that engulfed the historic Manila Central Post Office in Liwasang Bonifacio was "purely accidental in nature".
The Philippine Postal Corporation said in a statement that the BFP also declared the investigation into the raze as "considered closed and solved."
"The Philippine Postal Corporation (PHLPost) already got hold of the fire clearance certificate issued by the BFP saying that the fire originated at the southern part of the basement, more particularly at the Mega Manila Storage Room (GSS) where office supplies, thinners, paint cans where piled in close proximity to the car batteries stored inside the room," it said.
The BFP reportedly found out that some of the post office building's combustible content which were in enclosed spaces "greatly influenced heat build-up" inside the structure, leading to explosion which led to the blaze.
"On the determined cause of fire, it has been established based on the pieces of evidence gathered, that the statement of the witness and the result of the laboratory examinations, that the cause of fire is attributed to sudden self-discharge of car battery (sulfation) resulting to thermal run-away, causing sudden build-up of heat and pressure and eventually cause the explosion," the PHLPost said.
"Moreover, the presence of the internal short circuit, the hydrogen and the volatile gases contained in the battery and the presence of oxygen as the oxidizing agent initiated the ignition. The contributory factors and the combustibility of materials fueled and sustained the ignition sequence."
The Senate has created a special committee that would oversee the rehabilitation of the Manila Central Post Office, which was destroyed by the massive fire last May 21.
Sen. Robin Padilla sought a Senate probe into the fire incident as he pressed for better "policies for the preservation and protection of cultural properties."