(UPDATED) A water tank explosion in San Jose Del Monte, Bulacan before dawn Friday killed three people, including a one-year-old baby, and injured dozens of others, a police official said.
San Jose Del Monte police chief Fitz Macariola said the incident took place in Barangay Muzon around 3:30 a.m.
Macariola identified the fatalities as Jaina Espina, 1; Elaine Tiongson, 22 and Jimmy Garcia, 61.
He said no less than 40 residents were rushed to the hospital for treatment after they were hit by debris from the seven-year-old structure.
He said that at least 2,000 cubic meters of water from the 13-meter water tank washed out at least 20 motorcycles, five cars, several houses, a gas station, and the police station.
"As of now, we are still trying to identify the cause of the incident. But, according to the engineers of the water district, they are conducting a regular inspection of their facilities including the tank and if they have to repair something, they do it. That is why they also did not know the reason why it collapsed," Macariola said in Filipino.
The explosion of the water tank has resulted in the suspension of classes in the village, said San Jose Del Monte Mayor Arthur Robes.
Robes said he has ordered the City Engineers' Office to conduct a deeper probe on the structural integrity of the water tank which supplies water to residential and commercial consumers in the village.
He also urged everyone to avoid making speculations on the cause of the incident after some residents blamed the collapse of the water tank to shoddy construction methods.
"I really could not tell. It is hard to speculate until such time the engineers rule that there is something wrong in its engineering design," he said.
The mayor said they will provide assistance to the affected individuals, especially the families of those who have died or were injured.
Lawyer Leah Javier of the San Jose Del Monte water district said they will cooperate in the ongoing investigation. (SunStar Philippines)