Fire destroys 12 houses, leaves 99 homeless

Rokiah Mahmud

Ninety-nine people have been rendered homeless, following an early morning fire at Kampong Bendahara Lama in the capital, yesterday.

The Fire and Rescue Department (FRD) said that after receiving an alert at 2.34am, 20 personnel from the Sungai Kebun, Pelancaran and Bandar Seri Begawan fire stations were immediately deployed, together with two fireboats. The fire teams were led by Acting Assistant Director of Operations SSFR Noor Aflan bin Kachi.

No one was injured in the incident, which destroyed 12 dwellings and caused some damage for the 28 occupants of four other houses.

Minister of Home Affairs Pehin Orang Kaya Seri Kerna Dato Seri Setia (Dr) Haji Awang Abu Bakar bin Haji Apong; Minister at the Prime Minister’s Office Dato Seri Setia Haji Awang Abdul Mokti bin Haji Mohd Daud; and Minister of Culture, Youth and Sports Major General (Rtd) Dato Paduka Seri Awang Haji Aminuddin Ihsan bin Pehin Orang Kaya Saiful Mulok Dato Seri Paduka Haji Abidin visited the site to meet with the victims.

Pehin Orang Kaya Seri Kerna Dato Seri Setia (Dr) Haji Awang Abu Bakar said he had been notified by the FRD that three fire teams were involved in the efforts to put out the blaze.

“However, the fire personnel were hampered by the low tide, and took quite a while to extinguish the flames,” he said.

The scene of fire.
ABOVE & BELOW: Minister of Home Affairs Pehin Orang Kaya Seri Kerna Dato Seri Setia (Dr) Haji Awang Abu Bakar bin Haji Apong, Minister at the Prime Minister’s Office Dato Seri Setia Haji Awang Abdul Mokti bin Haji Mohd Daud and Minister of Culture, Youth and Sports Major General (Rtd) Dato Paduka Seri Awang Haji Aminuddin Ihsan bin Pehin Orang Kaya Saiful Mulok Dato Seri Paduka Haji Abidin visited the scene of the fire. PHOTOS: ROKIAH MAHMUD

Firefighters working at the site

“I was informed that about nine houses were completely destroyed by the fire, along with three vacant houses, while four were damaged by the blaze.

“Several agencies, including the Ministry of Home Affairs (MoHA), the Ministry of Culture, Youth and Sports (MCYS), the Community Development Department (JAPEM), the Yayasan Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah, the Ministry of Education (MoE) and the Brunei Islamic Religious Council (MUIB), are presently collecting data to manage the welfare and well-being of the fire victims.”

He also announced that the MoE would be providing support in the form of school uniforms, textbooks, workbooks and stationery for students affected by the fire, while those attending private schools would receive aid from Yayasan.

Dato Seri Setia Haji Awang Abdul Mokti, who is also Yayasan Board of Directors member and Chairman of the Yayasan Aid Review Committee, told the Bulletin that Yayasan would give priority in providing assistance to the fire victims.

Major General (Rtd) Dato Paduka Seri Awang Haji Aminuddin Ihsan meanwhile said that JAPEM would be providing immediate relief for the fire victims, including temporary shelters at Kampong Sungai Akar, Kampong Belimbing and Sentosa.

“JAPEM will also provide food rations, basic supplies and financial aid to the fire victims, for their convenience in this difficult time,” he said.

The fire first broke out at the house of Hasimah binti Abdul Rahman, who said that she was awakened by her children’s screams at around 2am, about thick smoke issuing from one of the rooms.

“We only had time to save some important documents, before rushing outside,” she said.

The FRD said in a statement, that the cause of fire and the total amount of losses are still under investigation.