A massive fire broke out at the historic Manila Central Post Office in the Philippine capital late Sunday, with teams of fire fighters battling for more than seven hours through the night before it was finally brought under control.
The fire started around 11:45 p.m. local time and the situation was raised to the highest fire alarm level just before 6 a.m on Monday morning, according to the Bureau of Fire Protection.
The blaze was brought under control around 7 a.m., leaving behind a charred roof and upper levels of the structure.
Pictures and footage showed flames and thick smoke billowing from the windows of the neoclassical building, known for its grand entry lined with ornate columns.
The building sits within the historic old Manila town near other tourist landmarks along the Pasig River that flows through the capital.
The post office was first built in 1926 and designed by Filipino architects Juan M. Arellano and Tomás Mapúa. It was severely damaged during World War II but rebuilt in 1946, preserving most of its original edifice.
It was declared an “important cultural property” in 2018, meaning the country’s oldest post office was of “exceptional cultural, artistic, and historical significance to the Philippines,” according to CNN affiliate CNN Philippines.
The building currently houses the Philippine Postal Corporation, the government-run postal service that handles everything from regular mail, parcels and special stamp collections.
Mark Laurente, chief of staff of the postmaster general, said that national identification cards were spared from the fire as those were stored in another city, CNN Philippines reported Monday morning.