Armscor Marikina Plant Fire

— David ReederCADRE Dispatch

Several local sources report that firearm manufacturer Armscor suffered a fire at its plant in Lungsod ng Marikina, or Marikinacity, the Philippines, on Thursday, February 29. As many as five structures may have burned, with four people injured and ₱14 million (14 million pesos, or roughly $250k USD) or more in damage caused to the facility.

It’s possible this fire will be significant to some American gun owners and likely anyone at all who buys ammunition. Armscor’s Marikina facility produces hundreds of thousands of rounds of ammunition annually. Given the current gunpowder shortage and rising ammunition prices, it’s easy to see at least the potential for this to make things worse. There’s also the question of how it may affect the availability of not only Armscor’s guns but also any companies for which they might manufacture components.

City of Marikina Armscor Fire

Initial information is scarce, but most accounts agree the fire was first reported at a “guns and ammo factory” (i.e., the Armscor manufacturing facility) northeast of Manila in Barangay Fortune, Marikinacity [sic], late in the afternoon on the 29th.

Philippine BFP firefighters respond to Armscor manufacturing facility fire in Marinika.

All images were taken as screen-shots from social media posts or were posted by the Manila Bulletin. Rights remain with the originator.

Images published by the Manila Bulletin, Quezon City-based GMA News, and the Philippine Star, as well as several unattributed videos posted to social media, show firefighters of the Bureau of Fire Protection (BFP, or Kawanihan ng Tagapangalaga Laban sa Sunog in Filipino) working to contain the blaze in Barangay Fortune.

A barangay, also referred to as a barrio, is the smallest, most localized governmental division in the Philippines, similar to a district, ward, or borough.

The Marikinacity Armscor fire either started or was first reported at either 1:55 pm or 3:55 pm local, depending on which news site you're reading. It was upgraded to a "2nd alarm" fire less than 10 minutes later. BFP firefighters declared the fire out at 5:20 pm.
The fire started sometime in the afternoon of the 29th. (the exact time varies depending on the news source). It was upgraded to a “2nd alarm” fire a short time later. It was extinguished at 5:20 pm.

Thankfully, there were no fatalities, though four people were reportedly injured. Both the Manila Bulletin and Philippine Star cite BFP National Capital Region sources to report ₱14 million (approximately $250K USD, a quarter of a million US dollars) in damage to five buildings of the facility. A cause has yet to be officially announced, but at least one site says it was traced to the gunpowder room.

That could mean a lot or nothing.

Local news stories anywhere can be contradictory. The ones we’ve seen about this fire literally are. One says there were no injuries; another says four people were hospitalized. One “BFP official source” indicated a response of 10 trucks to the fire, but another “source” in another publication put that number at 24 with the addition of an ambulance.

The actual impact of this event is impossible to predict. Any estimates made without knowing the actual extent of the damage, in money and impact on the facility, would be largely conjecture. ₱14 million (Filipino pesos) sounds bad, $250,000 much less so, but at this juncture, it’s hard to know what any of that means.

What area was worst impacted? How much of this is an ammo production issue and how much a firearm availability problem? Is it both? Was it an administrative area that suffered the worst?

Will this impact just RIA brand weapons, or will it also affect any OEM partners they might have? For that matter, how badly will this harm the local economy? I don’t know what the average income is in that area, nor the availability of employment, but something like this is bound to have a negative impact on the “working class” folks of Marikinacity.

Initial reports are always wrong. Always. But it sure looks like we may be feeling this later in the year when the supply of RIA guns begins to slow or stop.

And it’s really hard not to think this will make the powder shortage even worse, even if all it does is cause panic buying.

Hopefully, it’s not as bad as all that. Hopefully, the people employed there by Armscor will be able to return to work soon, and we’ve seen the extent of any casualties. We’ll soon see.

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