Church floor in Philippines collapses on Ash Wednesday, killing 1 and injuring dozens

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ACI Prensa Staff, Feb 15, 2024 / 18:10 pm

The balcony floor of a Catholic church in the Philippines collapsed during Ash Wednesday Mass on Feb. 14, leaving one woman dead and dozens injured.

According to the Public Information Office (PIO) of the city of San José del Monte in the Philippine province of Bulacan, around 7 a.m. local time the balcony of St. Peter the Apostle Church collapsed, creating fear and chaos among the faithful attending the Mass on the first day of Lent.

According to the PIO, witnesses heard a loud noise and then screams from the people who fell from the balcony and from some who were on the first floor, all participating in the Mass.

This photo shows a general view of a partially collapsed balcony inside St. Peter the Apostle Church in San Jose del Monte, Bulacan, on Feb. 14, 2024. At least 52 people were injured when the packed church balcony collapsed during Ash Wednesday service in the Philippines on Wednesday, city disaster officials said. Credit: NEIL NUNEZ/AFP via Getty Images
This photo shows a general view of a partially collapsed balcony inside St. Peter the Apostle Church in San Jose del Monte, Bulacan, on Feb. 14, 2024. At least 52 people were injured when the packed church balcony collapsed during Ash Wednesday service in the Philippines on Wednesday, city disaster officials said. Credit: NEIL NUNEZ/AFP via Getty Images

According to the Philippine newspaper PhilStar, 52 people were injured and immediately taken to different local hospitals. So far, an 80-year-old woman was the only one who died in the collapse.

Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council personnel went to the scene as well as members of the San José del Monte city police station, firefighters, the city’s engineering department, a cleanup crew, and health care personnel.

Various clearing operations are still going on in the area.

The mayor of San José del Monte, Arthur Robes, also went to the scene and said that an investigation will be carried out to determine what happened. One explanation, according to Infobae, is that structural wood may have been eaten away by termites, causing the floor to give way.

According to PhilStar, St. Peter the Apostle Church announced that the subsequent Masses were canceled by order of the mayor until city officials can assess the condition of the building.

This story was first published by ACI Prensa, CNA’s Spanish-language news partner. It has been translated and adapted by CNA.

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