Wednesday, August 21

Over 300 made homeless


DEVASTATED: A firefighter escorts a villager away from the burning longhouse.

Fire razes 30-door Rh Agan Minggat; nothing saved due to ferocity of blaze

KAPIT: The 30-door Rumah Agan Minggat near the Sungai Sesibau Bridge at Jalan Bukit Goram was destroyed by a fire yesterday, leaving its some 300 residents homeless.

A Bletih Polyclinic employee, identified only as Ringkai, said he first spotted smoke coming from Rumah Agan around 7.30am.

“I arrived at the polyclinic at 7.15am. I went to the canteen and I saw smoke from the longhouse at 7.30am. The clinic was alerted and two ambulances with 10 staff – medical assistant, nurse and a general worker – rushed to the scene to provide medical relief.

“Two persons were injured in the incident – an elderly woman and a man in his 30s both suffered burns and were taken to the polyclinic for burn treatment”, said Ringkai.

Fire and Rescue Department (Bomba) officer in-charge Jackson Anyie Ngau said the department received a distress call at 8.11am.

Two fire engines with 18 firefighters and another six volunteer firefighters then rushed to the scene, which is about 2km away.

It took about an hour to get the fire under control and prevent it from spreading to nearby houses.

However, nothing could be salvaged due to the ferocity of the flames, which also sent up a plume of black smoke that could be seen several kilometres away.

Among the victims was Ngindang, 56, who said he had just bought a new motorcycle, which he parked inside the longhouse to keep it from getting stolen.

“When the fire broke out, all property and personal belongings as well as the motorbike, which cost some RM6,000 were gone,” he said.

Carpenter Mutan Langgit, 61, rushed home from a housing construction site upon hearing about the fire to find all his belongings reduced to ashes.

With only the torn clothes on his back, Mutan said he is now penniless.

A woman brick layer identified only as Payah was also left with nothing.

Curious onlookers caused a traffic jam of over 1km, and police had to be deployed to the scene to control traffic.

Most of the residents of the wooden longhouse erected over 20 years ago are originally from Baleh.

There are also over 60 houses built near the longhouse.