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Rescuers outside the church after it collapsed yesterday (UCA News/San Jose del Monte Public Information Office)

At least one person died and 53 were injured when part of the second floor of a church collapsed during a packed Ash Wednesday Mass in Bulacan province in the Philippines yesterday. Source: UCA News.

The incident occurred at St Peter Apostle Church in San Jose del Monte City, about 47 kilometres northeast of the capital Manila, during the middle of the liturgy, local officials said.

City mayor Arthur Robes named the victim as Luneta Morales, an 80-year-old grandmother and a member of the church choir, who died in hospital.

“Others have returned home after having their wounds cleaned and prescribed medicine. Some others are under observation,” Mr Robes said after visiting the site.

Videos posted on social media showed chaotic scenes in the church as the second floor crumbled and fell on churchgoers as they queued to have ash applied to their foreheads. Many were screaming and stumbling as they ran from the church.

The injured were rushed to a local hospital for treatment, Mr Robes said.

City Building officials conducted a damage assessment at the church, while the mayor has ordered Mass not to be held there for the time being.

City Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office head Gina Ayson said the injured suffered only minor bruises.

“The church structure is somewhat old, but it has undergone past renovations. The same goes for the church’s mezzanine area,” Ms Ayson was quoted as saying by the state-run Philippine News Agency yesterday.

She said that the mezzanine’s floor was made of wood, which might have collapsed due to a large number of churchgoers occupying the second-floor area.

Building officials discovered that a portion of the collapsed structure was also infested with termites, Ms Ayson said.

Some 400 people were reportedly attending the Mass in the church, which was established in 1994.


Philippine church collapse kills at least 1, injures 53 (By Ronald O. Reyes, UCA News)