No trace of explosives in Bulacan water tank blast

CITY OF SAN JOSE DEL MONTE, Bulacan – Police on Saturday reported that no explosive devices were used in the collapse of the ground steel-bolted water tank of the San Jose del Monte City Water District early Friday morning in Carriedo St., Bgy. Muzon here, where 4 people, including two one year old baby girls, were killed and injured 44 others.

In a report to Bulacan police director Senior Supt. Romeo Caramat Jr., city police chief Supt. Fitz Macariola said that a team from the Philippine Army’s 2nd Explosive Ordinance Disposal Platoon led by TSGT. Cornelio Calagate Jr., arrived at the site and conducted post blast investigation.

Macariola said that the army EOD team, based on their ocular investigation, concluded that “there is no sign or indicationof IED or improvised explosive deviceat the incident area”.

He added that further investigation also revealed that most of the damages noted on the metal/material used were lacerated and mostly started at the knot hole, thus eliminating the possibility of any use of explosive devices.

He said the findings of the ARMY EOD team is a big help on the on-going investigation that the TASK Force formed by Mayor Arthur Robes is currently conducting. Earlier Robes said that they are stll verifying if the collapse was triggered by engineering defects or due to the age of the steel tank.

Macariola identified the fatalities as Jimmy Garcia, 50; Jaina Espina, 1 year old and Elaine Chamson, 22, and Nina Ape, 1, all residents of Bgy. Muzon.

Macariola said that the incident happened at around 3:30 Friday morning. Big volume of water burst and swept thru residential and a nearby police detatchment like a tidal wave according to witnesses.

Rescuers brought the injured to the different hospitals in the city where they are still under going treatment while the fatalities were recovered under debris, police investigators said,

The structure is 14 by 13 meters in height and has a 2,000 cubic meter capacity. The SJDM Water District is headed by General Manger Loreto Limcolioc.

Water gushing from the collapsed tank deatroyed several commercial and residential houses and swept motorcycles and a police car from the adjacent police detachment.

A holy mass was also held for the victims at the site Saturday morning.

In his weekly radio program with Bulakenyo broadcaster Rommel Ramos, Gov. Wilhelmino M. Sy-Alvarado said that an inspection of other big water tanks not only in this city but in the other water districts will be conducted to ensure that their structural integrity is safe and durable.

“This is an eye opener. Public safety is our topmost concern and it is mandatory to all water district officials to inspect their water tanks especially the old ones,” he said. —EMIL G. GAMOS

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