Fire, blast at Philippine Army office injure 24

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Wednesday, May 7, 2014

MANILA (Updated) -- The Philippine Army said a large explosion during a fire Wednesday morning destroyed a building housing its explosives and ordnance unit and injured at least 24 people, mostly firefighters and soldiers.

Army spokesperson Lieutenant Colonel Noel Detoyato said the fire broke out around 10:45 a.m. at the military camp's Ascom Compound in Fort Bonifacio.

Staff at the army hospital said three soldiers suffered serious burns.

Detoyato said most of the injured were hit by flying debris from the concrete structure after a huge explosion flattened the building.

He said ammunition for troops from the Explosives and Ordnance Battalion plus explosives used as instructional materials by the unit were ignited during the blaze.

Department of Interior and Local Government Secretary Manuel Roxas, in a tweet past 2 p.m., said the fire was put under control.

Army deputy spokesman Captain Anthony Bacus said one of the explosions was strong that they felt the vibration from his office, which is about a kilometer away from the site of the blaze.

"At around 10:50 a.m. or 10:45 a.m., a loud explosion occurred. It was really strong, that we felt the vibration from our office," said Bacus.

Motorists were advised to take alternative routes since several passages near the Fort Bonifacio remained closed.

The cause of the fire is being investigated by the army and fire officials. (Sunnex/With AP)

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