A loud explosion rocked the Explosive Ordnance Office at Camp Domingo Leonor along San Pedro Street around 11:20 a.m. Saturday.
However, the police were quick to say that there’s no need to panic.
Apparently, the blast was caused by a previously recovered bomb placed inside the stock room of the office. There was no reported casualty reported in the incident.
The Bureau of Fire and Protection XI and Central 911 firetrucks were dispatched to contain the area.
Later, around 2 p.m., policemen inside the barracks were seen by the media running outside the barracks after more smoke billowed inside the stock room.
Minutes later, at least four fire trucks from the BFP and Central 911 went to the scene.
At 2:36 p.m., Col. Alexander Tagum, city police director, said in a text message that they needed to contain the area to ensure everybody’s safety.
Then at 2:44 p.m. in an interview with Tagum, he said that there was no second explosion. But he confirmed that thick smoke did come out of the stock room.
He said explosives are being kept in custody at the EOD office because these are kept as court evidence.
“Despite its proper storage (in accordance with the EOD storage standards), it accidentally exploded for still unknown reasons,” he said.
Reportedly, a house owner in front of the DCPO barracks recovered an empty shell that pierced the roof. “As what I have said, there are no reports yet other than damaged glass in the surroundings within the DCPO,” he added.
He said the houses at the back of the DCPO are part of the barracks.
He said the EOD team, led by EOD regional chief Maj. Joel Garcia, is presently conducting a post-blast investigation to determine the cause of the blast.
Bombs and bomb components in the custody of the police are carefully itemized, inventoried, and stored.
For instance, the grenades recovered from the Maute family are placed inside the storage while the unexploded ordnance is stored at the back of the EOD office.
Tagum admitted that this has been a continuing problem—how to properly store highly volatile court evidence like an IED or grenades.
“But for now we can’t say what are those (pieces of) court evidence that have been affected,” he added.