| Hakim Hayat |
A FIRE that broke out in the wee hours of yesterday morning completely ravaged four houses at Kampong Setia ‘B’ in Kampong Ayer, leaving 54 people from four different families homeless.
Four nearby houses were also partially damaged in the fire. No casualties or injuries were reported.
The Fire and Rescue Department said they received a distress call at about 3.28am on Wednesday, and immediately dispatched four fire and rescue boats and two fire engines from the Marine, Sungai Kebun and Pelancaran Fire and Rescue Stations.
Twenty one Fire and Rescue personnel worked tirelessly and took about 37 minutes to contain the raging fire, which reduced the houses to ashes.
Many of the occupants were fast asleep when the fire broke out. One of the victims, Awang Shahminan, said he was awakened by the smell of smoke and immediately got up to check on his house. “I went to the kitchen and saw it already engulfed in big flames. We tried to save our belongings but it was too dangerous and too late to react so we swiftly moved out of the house,” he added.
Another victim, who was visibly shocked, said he and his family lost everything in the fire.
“We had no choice but to leave everything behind… my priority was my family’s safety… after realising that my house was on fire, I immediately took my kids out of the house… we have nothing left … not even a single clothing,” the victim who wants to be known as Shahri, said.
Following initial investigations, the Fire and Rescue Department said a faulty electrical wiring was the cause of the fire. The department estimates a loss of about $458,500 due to the incident.
Government agencies quickly reacted to the incident, immediately providing welfare assistance to all the 54 people who lost their place of shelter.
Deputy Minister of Home Affairs Pehin Datu Lailaraja Major General (Rtd) Dato Paduka Seri Haji Awang Halbi bin Haji Mohd Yussof and Deputy Minister of Culture, Youth and Sports Datin Paduka Hajah Adina binti Haji Othman visited the scene of the incident yesterday morning to oversee the scale of the damage and evacuation operations.
According to Datin Paduka Hajah Adina, following the incident, the ministry activated its normal Standard Operating Procedure through its Community Development Department (JAPEM) by providing temporary shelters for the victims and providing daily meals until such time as required.
An official from JAPEM said, so far two families comprising 11 individuals have chosen to stay at one of three temporary shelters provided in Kg Belimbing Subok, Kg Sungai Asam and Sentosa Flat in the capital.
The other victims are said to have opted to stay with their relatives or family members elsewhere.