Firefighters who battled the deadly fire at the Manila Pavilion Hotel & Casino have claimed the building’s sprinklers were out of order.
“The sprinklers did not work]based on the initial report of the Bureau of Fire Protection,” Manila Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office chief Johnny Yu said yesterday (Sunday, March 18).
“Our firefighters had to use an external water source, meaning a hose outside then they blasted water inside. Had the sprinklers functioned, it wouldn’t have taken us this long to put out the fire.”
The number of casualties of the blaze at the hotel on UN Avenue, Ermita, has now been confirmed as five, with dozens more injured.
The fire that broke out at about 9.30am yesterday, was officially declared extinguished shortly before noon today.
The Bureau of Fire Protection and the Manila Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office is now investigating the reported malfunctioning sprinkler system.
It is believed that the five casualties, and a sixth person who remains in critical condition, were all casino employees. At least 20 other people were injured.
Some 300 guests and staff were evacuated safely, hotel and fire officials told a press conference.
“We are hoping no one was left behind in the rooms. Our firefighters have not yet gone up all parts of the building,” Metro Manila Development Authority acting chief Jojo Garcia said.
“The smoke was so big, so you can just imagine, there was zero visibility and our firefighters had difficulty breathing. Even outside the building there was zero visibility and it was much harder to operate inside,” Manila district fire marshal Jonas Silvano told radio DZBB.
According to GMA News, shares of Acesite Hotel Corporation (ACE), the operator of the Pavilion, plunged by nearly eight per cent this morning.
As of 11.23 am, ACE shares were trading at 1.28 pesos per share, down on Friday’s close price of 1.39 per share.