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LRT sustains damage, loses rider revenue from mall fire

By Riza T. Olchondra
Philippine Daily Inquirer
First Posted 21:50:00 01/03/2008

Filed Under: Fire, Transport

MANILA, Philippines -- The Light Rail Transit Authority (LRTA) said it may have lost 175,000 of its 375,000 daily passengers for Line1 due to the fire that hit a shopping complex near its Baclaran station Thursday evening.

"We are still assessing the losses. The full line (Baclaran to Monumento) serves 375,000 passengers on a regular work day. Today, we closed some stations to prevent danger to passengers due to the heat, the smoke, and the possible damage to facilities. Because of this we may have served 200,000 passengers at most," LRTA spokesperson Jinky
Jorgio told the Inquirer in a telephone interview.

Jorgio said the fire was still ongoing at 6 p.m. Because of this, LRTA may have to keep LRT line 1 operations limited from Monumento to Gil Puyat (southbound) and Vito Cruz to Monumento (northbound) until Friday.

"We hope the situation improves so we can have better operations tomorrow. But for public safety we have to check the affected stations. We have unconfirmed reports that a signal transmitter was damaged, plus some windows," Jorgio said.

Earlier, LRTA issued an advisory that as of 4 p.m. Thursday, the fire at the shopping mall near the Baclaran station was "contained."

This meant that firefighters had prevented the fire from spreading but had not totally put out the flames.

Train personnel had begun checking the safety and security of the power lines which were turned off since 10 a.m. due to the said fire.

LRTA said then that the windows of three offices -- the Public Relations Office, the Train Operator's Office and Train Operator's Lounge -- were destroyed as the fire went near their side.

The fire at Galleria Mall in Baclaran started at around 5a.m. Windy weather fanned the flames and brought smoke to LRTA's Baclaran station up to the next station at EDSA Taft.

At 10 a.m., while firefighters fought the flames, the elevated rail network's administration cut off power lines servicing the Baclaran, EDSA, and Libertad stations to contain any damages that might result from the fire.



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