Three injured in Binondo fire

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, May 28) — The fire department said three people suffered minor injuries after a blaze broke out at the Land Management Bureau (LMB) Building in Binondo, Manila early Monday, quickly spreading to three nearby buildings including one housing offices of the National Archives of the Philippines (NAP).

Manila Fire District Senior Superintendent Jonas Silvano said the fire at the LMB that started at 12:36 a.m. spread to the 150 Plaza Cervantes building, Moraga Mansion and the Juan Luna E-Services Building (also known as Pacific Commercial Company Building) that houses some offices of the NAP.

"'Yung isang bumbero yung laceration lang sa kamay yung isang fire volunteer laceration din and yung isang volunteer din difficulty of breathing, so 'yun ang reported injuries natin," Silvano told CNN Philippines' Newsroom Ngayon.

[Translation: One fireman suffered a laceration on the hand. A volunteer fireman suffered a laceration as well while another volunteer had difficulty in breathing, so those are the reported injuries.]

As of 8:30 a.m., the Bureau of Fire Protection (BFP) declared "Task Force Charlie" which meant 36 fire trucks have responded. Silvano also confirmed the blaze reached the third floor and portions of the fourth floor of the building which houses offices of the NAP.

"It started from the Land Management Bureau tapos nadamay ang BPI [BPI was affected] and then 'yung isang building po [and the other building] I just dont remember the exact name, kasalukuyan po [right now] we are trying to confine the fire on the 11th floor and sa may lugar ng National Archives [and by the National Archives area]...affected po ang third floor and portion ng fourth floor," Silvano said.

Vicente Velasco, an employee of the NAP administration department, told CNN Philippines that the affected offices in the building do not house any historical documents. The third floor is occupied by the NAP administration offices where requests to see the documents are filed. The historical documents are located in NAP's other offices such as in Paco, Manila and in the National Library in Ermita.

CNN Philippines approached NAP Executive Director Victorino Manalo but he refused to comment.

The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), which heads the LMB, also confirmed the safety of their employees and all important records contained in the building. They pegged the total cost of damages at P100 million due to the lost gadgets purchased for the digitization of their records.

"The DENR said that while land records in the building had been damaged, these only serve as back-up of documents in the regional offices," their statement said.

DENR added that Secretary Roy A. Cimatu has formed a committee, headed by Undersecretary Ernesto Adobo Jr., to assess any damage to the bureau's other important documents.

They also advised citizens to forward all land concerns and inquiries to their Help Desk in their Quezon City office.

The BFP said they are still gathering information on the cause of the incident.

The LMB building is located along Plaza Cervantes, approximately 200 meters from the Filipino-Chinese Friendship Arch that marks Binondo's Chinatown district.