Wednesday, January 26

Longhouses should have firefighting units – Salang

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PAKAN: A voluntary firefighting unit should be formed in every longhouse as part of its village development and security committee (JKKK)’s effort to help prevent and combat fires.

RAZED TO THE GROUND: Salang (second right) and Tuai Rumah Likik (right) inspect the scene of the fire.

Deputy Minister of Information, Communication and Culture Datuk Joseph Salang Gandum said this was particularly important in the rural areas which were not easily reached by the Fire and Rescue Department (Bomba).

He said this when visiting Rumah Likik Gawong in Nanga Dandi, Ulu Pedanom, here. Bomba could only reach this longhouse after it was totally razed to the ground at midday on Dec 30 last year due to its remote locality.

The fire took about 10 minutes to burn everything down and left all 145 residents of the 24-door longhouse homeless.

Initial reports said total loss was RM70,000. Two cars and three motorcycles were among the things gutted by the fire and a man suffered burns while trying to save his belongings.

Salang took the opportunity to remind longhouse residents to be cooperative when faced with fires.

“It is human nature that when we panic we tend to save our belongings. These are the sort of things that we want stopped.

“In a longhouse, people should be very cooperative. If such incident happens they should collectively try to stop the spread of fire,” he said.

Besides suggesting that they make a fire break in the middle of the longhouse, he advised them to be extra cautious with flammable materials.

“Do not leave your kitchen unattended. Make sure

you are done with your cooking when you want to attend to other matters,” he said.

Noting that kitchens were places where most fires started, he also advised them that they be separated from the main rooms.

Salang later presented monetary assistance of RM2,500 and clothes to Tuai Rumah Likik.

He also announced an allocation of RM48,000 to help the longhouse residents prepare their new longhouse site.

Meanwhile, Tuai Rumah Likik, said Pakan assemblyman Dato Sri William Mawan Ikom had also visited them on Dec 31 together with people from the Welfare Department.