MANILA — The government radio and television stations went off the air today after a fire broke out on the second floor of their studios in suburban Quezon City.
People's Television Channel 4 and Radyo ng Bayan (Radio of the Nation) interrupted regular programming to announce there was a fire in the building and to appeal to fire departments to rush to the studios.
Conrado Limcauco, the station manager, said the stations had received up to seven warnings that the facility might be sabotaged by right-wing opponents of President Corazon Aquino.
Limcauco said he had no estimate of damage, but he assumed the loss would exceed $100,000. He said the stations might remain off the air for several days.
The stations went off the air shortly before 9 p.m. Private television station ABS-CBN Channel 2, which shares the same building, went off the air soon afterward.
Fire officials said the blaze was brought under control about an hour later.
There were no reports of injuries, and officials said the cause of the blaze was unknown. Scores of marines, armed with M-16 rifles and M-203 grenade launchers, surrounded the station as firefighters battled the blaze.
The building also houses the offices of the government's board of censors.
Freddy Abando, a newsman for PTV-4, said staff noticed smoke pouring into the second floor newsroom and evacuated the building. He said the fire apparently started in the second floor executive offices.
"We saw smoke and asked everybody to get out immediately," he said. "The smoke was spreading so fast." He said he believed all staff managed to evacuate safely.
The station was attacked by mutineers during the Aug. 28 coup attempt and was held for several hours by the rebels until police recaptured the studio.