Hii (second right) with Liew (right), Hiew (second left) and Azhar (third right) when inspecting the aftermath of the fire at Kampung Gelam.

SANDAKAN: A fireman was attacked by a villager while putting out a fire at Kampung Gelam at Jalan Leila here where 35 squatter houses were razed to the ground yesterday morning.

The incident is believed to have happened due to a misunderstanding between the firefighter and the 30-year-old villager.

Other firemen at the scene tried to stop the villager from further assaulting their workmate. The fireman was able to resume his duty after the villager had calmed down.

Sandakan district police chief ACP Mohd Azhar Hamin confirmed the case and said that the villager was arrested for further investigation under Section 186 of the Penal Code for interrupting a civil servant from carrying out his duty.

Upon initial investigation, it was found that the suspect was said to be emotional when seeing his house burning, and thought that the firemen were purposely delaying the operation to extinguish the blaze.

Azhar said that the suspect ended up punching the fireman once on his body.

District Fire and Rescue Department chief Anddre Andrew led 14 other firemen to the scene after they received a call at 1.42 am.

“The houses involved were wooden squatter houses that were built very close together.

“The operation was completed at 4.32am after the fire was completely extinguished. No casualty was reported from the incident,” he said.

Upon hearing about the fire, Sandakan Municipal Council (SMC) president Datuk Peter Hii went to inspect the site and assist the coordination of the victims.

Hii said that he had instructed SMC staff to arrange for the victims to reside temporarily at the Batu Sapi People’s Housing Project hall here.

“I will ensure that the relevant agencies provide all necessary assistance to the victims,” he said.

Also present during the inspection were Batu Sapi Member of Parliament cum Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department (Law) Datuk Liew Vui Keong; Karamunting Assemblyman cum Assistant Minister of Local Government and Housing George Hiew and Sandakan district police chief ACP Mohd Azhar Hamin.