Three persons hurt in EOD storage room blast

Bureau of Fire Protection personnel respond to a blast that rocked the Iloilo City Police Office (ICPO)’s Explosive Ordnance Division (EOD) office Sunday. Three persons were hurt in the incident. (Photo courtesy of Major Shella Mae Sangrines)

By Jennifer P. Rendon

Three persons were injured in an explosion that rocked the storage facility of the Iloilo City Police Office (ICPO)’s Explosive Ordnance Division (EOD) office around 10:15 a.m. on Jan 8, 2023.

Police identified the victims as Patrolwoman Shyrine Manuel, K-9 handler of the ICPO City Explosives and Canine Unit; Fernando Sabidalas, 49, of Jaro, Iloilo City; and John Mark Garcia, a Philippine Long Distance Telephone (PLDT) Co employee from Dumangas, Iloilo.

Manuel was in the kitchen of the EOD building, which sits adjacent to the ICPO Traffic Enforcement Unit (TEU) office when the blast happened.

She suffered blisters on both hands and the left side of her face.

Sabidalas, on the other hand, was transacting business at the TEU office while Garcia was doing maintenance work just outside the ICPO compound when the blast occurred.

Sabidalas injured his right middle finger while Garcia’s nape was hit with debris.

Major Shella Mae Sangrines, ICPO spokesperson, said the two wounded civilians were treated by responding members of the Iloilo City Emergency Responders (ICER) while Manuel was taken to the West Visayas State University Medical Center for further laboratory examination.

The rather old EOD facility is located inside the ICPO headquarters at Camp Achilles Plagata, Gen. Luna Street, City Proper, Iloilo City.

The facility served as an office and storage room for confiscated ordnance and other training materials.

Sangrines said investigators from the scene of the crime operations (SOCO), Bureau of Fire Protection, ICPO-EOD, and the Iloilo City Police Office are probing the incident.

“We could not yet declare the cause of explosion and the damage to property,” she said.

But as initially reported, Major Serafin Jun Reyes, chief of Regional Explosive Ordnance Division Unit-6, opined that the incident might be due to inappropriate temperature inside the facility.

“This caused the initiation of small amount of low explosion intended for training stored inside the said facility. “

Brigadier General Leo Francisco, Western Visayas police chief, visited the area immediately after the incident.

Francisco ordered the clearing of the place once the investigation is finished.

The ICPO-EOD and TEU offices will be relocated in the meantime.

Francisco also acknowledged that storage for confiscated explosives and even those chemicals and materials used for training should be in a separate facility.

The explosion has apparently overtaken the relocation plan.

In the end, though, Francisco said they’re glad that nothing serious happened and those wounded only suffered minor injuries.