Longhouse saved from fire as residents take quick action

SIBU (THE STAR) – A 28-door wooden longhouse in Suai, Batu Niah, Miri was saved from being completely razed on Wednesday night as the kitchen was built separately behind the main structure.

The 9pm fire happened in one of the kitchens of the longhouse with 191 residents.

Miri Fire and Rescue chief Law Poh Kiong said yesterday that the kitchen was located apart from the main longhouse.

“The design of the kitchen was one of the main factors that prevented the fire from spreading to other rooms as there was a fire break,” he said.

Law also commended the placement of the bathroom in the middle of the longhouse as a good idea.

“I was at the scene. I feel proud, overwhelmed and delighted to see that all the residents came together to put out the fire using fire extinguishers and pails of water to douse the flames,” he said.

The longhouse residents showing the fire extinguishers they used to put out the fire. PHOTO: THE STAR

The residents had also removed the ceiling and roof of the affected kitchen to prevent the raging fire from spreading to the main rooms.

On the cause of the fire, Law said it was still being investigated.

The fire started when the residents had retired for the day. He added that one of the affected residents was alerted by her dog’s loud bark.

She then shouted, which caused the other residents to rush to her aid.

“From what I have seen, it is important that longhouse residents equip themselves with fire extinguishers. I urge longhouses to have it at every door as it only costs from MYR150 to MYR200 each,” Law said.