300 made homeless in Putatan
Published on: Saturday, January 12, 2019
By: Zam Yusa

PUTATAN: Some 300 people were made homeless after 55 homes at Kg Pasir Putih, here, went up in flames on Friday afternoon. No loss of life or injury was reported by the Fire and Rescue Department.

Several vehicles parked near the burning stilt houses were also destroyed in the fire that occurred over a 4ha area and which started when many male villagers were attending Friday prayers.

Villagers told Daily Express the fire started in one of the homes but nobody knew what caused it. Scores of villagers and firemen were seen trying to put out the fire and at one time, the fire seemed to have been contained before it flared up again as firefighting efforts were hampered due to the low water pressure, a fire department spokesperson said.

“We needed to call for help from a neighbouring fire station and water supply from the Water Department in Penampang,” the spokesperson said in a WhatsApp message.

A resident who was working at Jalan Lintas said she rushed home when alerted and found the fire had spread and consumed many houses but stopped right at her kitchen.

“The kitchen was partially burnt but I was lucky it didn’t raze the whole house though we managed to take out many of our things, including gifts and stuff for my wedding planned for April,” quantity surveyor Nani Mungkit said.

“But my aunts and cousin were not so lucky as their homes were destroyed. My cousin, who was also getting married soon, found all her wedding things destroyed. But the most important thing is my mother and small nephew, who were the only homes when the fire got to our house, were uscathed, thank God.”

According to a press release, the fire department received an alert at 12.53pm and dispatched six fire engines and 40 firemen to the scene from the Penampang, Kota Kinabalu and Jalan Lintas fire stations. The Lok Kawi army camp’s fire brigade and other agencies also lent a hand.

The fire department’s head of operations for Kota Kinabalu zone, Hamsa Isnudini, said the firefighters brought the fire under control at 3.14pm and put it out completely at 4.32pm.

“It was hard to contain the fire as the hydrants’ pressure was low and the houses were built very close to each other,” he said. The 315 fire victims registered as of 5.34pm by the Welfare Department are being sheltered at the Putatan Multipurpose Hall.

Meanwhile, the State Education Department has been urged to identify students who have been affected by fire. 

State Education and Innovation Assistant Minister Jenifer Lasimbang said the children need help in order for them to resume their education normally soon.

“I’ve met with some of the children from SK Buit Hill, SK Tansau and SK Putatan. I feel I should seek the help of the Department to identify every child who is affected and help in any way so that they can return to school on Monday,” she said. - Zam Yusa and Jimmy Goh


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