FIVE fire engines with 52 firefighters went to the scene, including three engines from Sibu and one from Bintangor. The fifth was from the Civil Defence Department with 12 firefighters.
The fire has been controlled but firefighters are still dousing the gutted lots.
Meanwhile, Bernama reports the fire, the third in Sibu in less than a month, had destroyed two medical laboratories, bookshop, motorcycle repair shop, goldsmith cum ammunitions shop, private medical clinic, restaurant and the branch offices of Chinese daily newspapers ‘The International Times’ and ‘Berita Petang’ among others.
According to a witness, Dr Isaali Wasli, who operated the ‘Klinik Ali’ there over the last 24 years, he was treating some patients at the clinic when the fire broke out.
He told the patients to leave before the fire spread to his clinic, adding that the fire was believed to have started from one of the shops on the first floor of a row of buildings.
According to Sibu Fire and Rescue Department fire forensic officer Rafie Sapar, this was the third fire in the town in less than a month.
The first fire on June 19 destroyed about 60 houses, rendering 597 people from 144 families homeless in Kampung Datu/Kampung Hilir.
Last Friday morning, a fire destroyed a water pump generator and other equipment at the Sibu Water Board raw water pumping station in Lanang Road.
Fire broke out in one of the shops in a shophouse along Blacksmith Road before 11am.
Fire department (Bomba) received a distress call at 11:03am.
About 20 shops were affected including International Times office.
Our reporter in the field, Wilson Kong is awaiting confirmation of cause of fire from Bomba.