46 units damaged in shopping centre fire

Izah Azahari

A fire at a section of the BT Haji Uthman Complex across Times Square Shopping Centre, Berakas, yesterday, affected the exterior of 40 units on the upper floor and six units on the ground floor. One two-storey unit was totally gutted.

A distress call about the fire was received at 1.07pm, stated a Fire and Rescue Department (FRD) release. Five fire engines with 24 fire fighters from the Berakas Fire Station, the FRD Women’s Operation Unit and the Beribi Fire Station were immediately dispatched to the scene.

Officer-in-Charge of the Operation ‘C’ Branch Senior Superintendent of Fire and Rescur (SSFR) Pengiran Azizul Rahman bin Pengiran Haji Yusop led the team.

Fire personnel on arrival found a massive blaze engulfing the building’s ground floor which spread to the upper floor. The fire had started from the central part of the building’s lobby.

All occupants had evacuated before the firefighters arrived. The fire was brought under control in four minutes.

Firefighters extinguish the fire at the BT Haji Uthman Complex.
Rescuing occupants from the building. PHOTOS: RAHWANI ZAHARI
The fire at BT Haji Uthman Complex

The cause of the fire and extent of damages are under investigation.

Other agencies involved were the Royal Brunei Police Force led by Probationary Inspector Faris Akmal bin Ali Akmar along with two personnel from the Berakas Police Station, an ambulance led by SNP Al Said along with three paramedics, the Department of Electrical Services, and the Department of Labour.

Also present were Acting Fire and Rescue Director Lim Hock Guan, Assistant Technical Director SSFR Nohi Irwan Sukarki bin Haji Pawi, Acting Assistant Operation Director SSFR Hadi Zulfadli bin Haji Yahya, Deputy Officer-in-Charge of the Operation ‘C’ Branch SFR Haji Mustapa bin Haji Mohamad, Station Commander of the Berakas Fire Station ASFR Mushidee bin Junaidi, and Head of the Law Enforcement and Fire Safety Investigation Division Acting SFR Pengiran Noorfaridahwati binti Pengiran Anak Omar Alli.

The FRD reminded the public not to overload electrical systems; switch off all electrical appliances when not in use; and make sure the electrical wiring is in good condition and done by accredited companies.

Each building should be equipped with fire extinguishers, fire blankets as well as smoke detectors, the FRD stated. The public can contact the Fire and Rescue Operation Centre at 995 during an emergency.