Fire sets commercial area, school, public hospital in Paco, Ermita ablaze

By: Aishah Jimenez
April 21, 2024

Consecutive fires erupt in major areas overnight in Manila as the nation reels with hot temperatures. Photos courtesy of ABS-CBN News (left) and Bombo Radyo Philippines (right).

A fire erupted in a general merchandise store near a public market in Pedro Gil, Paco, Manila, on Saturday night, April 20.

The Bureau of Fire Protection (BFP) reported that it circulated to other buildings, especially those made with light-weight materials immediately, prompting them to declare a second alarm at 8:09 pm.

From that point, firefighters were not able to prevent its rapid spread, resulting in a fifth alarm at 8:37 pm.

The incident caused damage to the Paco Public Market, nearby residential areas, as well as parts of Paco Catholic School, which was seen to be under control by the BFP at 10:28 pm. 

Firefighters took more than five hours to extinguish the flames. The complete fireout was reported at 1:26 am. 

The Manila Fire Department's deputy district fire marshall, Fire Superintendent Leo Andiso, disclosed that the scene also caused slight injuries to a volunteer firefighter. 

In Ermita, Manila, the pharmacy storage room of the Philippine General Hospital (PGH) that is undergoing renovation has also caught on fire, forcing over 140 patients to be sent to the emergency room.

Said incident only persisted for twenty minutes until firefighters were able to contain it. 

Fire Superintendent Leo Andiso explained that an evacuation had been executed because there was smoke but the spread of fire was only small. No injuries have been reported since all patients and medical professionals within the area have been immediately relocated.

Andiso added that the occurrence is nowhere inside the emergency room. Following the fireout, fire marshals anticipate for the smoke to be emitted before patients are returned to their original rooms.

While the cause of the blaze is yet to be confirmed, Clyde Aguirre of the Central Paco-Pandacan Fire Station suspects that the same is rooted in a faulty electrical system.

Last March 13, patients were also evacuated due to a fire that began in the hospital's audio-visual room and spread to the rear of Wards 1-4. No casualties were reported.

The Department of Health (DOH) has yet to release a statement regarding these incidents.