Five shophouses destroyed by fire


SARIKEI: A fire on Friday night totally destroyed five double-storey shophouses at Repok Road, while another was left seriously damaged.

INFERNO: The fire at its height.

Acting district fire and rescue services chief Haron Jenai said the department received a distress call at 9.43pm and despatched two fire engines.

When firefighters arrived four minutes later, the flames had spread quickly due to the windy conditions.

“As stated by one of the owners, the row of shophouses was built in the 1930s. The floor and most of the internal structure of the building were made of wood. These materials are flammable,” he pointed out.

The fire is believed to have started in the rear of one of the middle units.

Haron said firefighters took about an hour to get the flames under control.

A team of firemen from Bintangor also assisted with the operation, which continued till morning. There was a total of 26 firefighters, including three from the Sibu Rim Unit (motorcycle) as well as Sibu zone fire and rescue services chief Abdul Mutalib Rashid.

Police, Rela and Civil Defence Department members also helped along with the public.

Haron added that a former firemen who collapsed at the scene was pronounced dead on arrival at Sarikei Hospital.

Yii Yuk Seng is said to have assisted his former colleagues at one of the fire hydrants when he suddenly collapsed. It is believed that he had a history of heart problems.

The actual cause of the fire and  the total loss has yet to be ascertained as the investigation is still ongoing.

Among the businesses affected were a motorcycle shop, electrical and electronics sales and service shops, bicycle shop, furniture shop, courier service office, as well as workshop.