Rh Jalak fire the biggest longhouse blaze this year — Bomba director

Nor Hisham Mohammad

Nor Hisham Mohammad

SIBU: The fire that gutted Rh Jalak in Tanjung Penasu at Batang Igan near here on Tuesday is the biggest longhouse fire in Sarawak so far this year, according to Fire and Rescue Department (Bomba) state director Nor Hisham Mohammad.

In revealing this yesterday, he said there had been 16 cases of longhouse fire so far this year, a jump of 60 per cent over the 10 cases recorded during the same period last year.

Of the 16 cases, two involved fuse boxes, he disclosed.

“In terms of number of doors (bilek) in longhouses gutted since January 2016, 193 were razed compared to 94 during the corresponding period last year.

“This represents an increase of 105 per cent in the number of doors gutted.

“On the other hand, during the same period last year, Bomba saved 61 doors from going up in smoke,” Nor Hisham added.

According to him, 46 per cent of longhouse fires for the past three years were due to cooking, while electrical faults (wiring and equipment malfunction) accounted for 36 per cent.

On the Rh Jalak fire, he said the cause was being determined.

The director praised Lidi Ali for his bravery and quick action to save a girl toddler during the tragedy.

Meanwhile, UPP Bawang Assan Bumiputera unit chairman Andrew Shilling, who was at the site, said some of the fire victims were putting up with relatives while canopies had been erected for those staying near the site.

“Essential items including food have been distributed by non-governmental organisations (NGOs) and various government agencies to the fire victims,” he noted.