Published on: Wednesday, December 18, 2013
The incident considered the biggest fire in the district here, this year, involved 177 household heads from over 100 houses including squatter homes that occurred at 9am. The firefighters took four hours to put out the fire emitting from the houses including 80 doors of long houses from Block A to J.
Business premises of small-time traders in the area were also destroyed.
One of the victims, Bedasare Mohd Sare, 22, said she panicked when she heard people shouting "fire" when she was resting with her five-month old baby boy and her 50-year-old mother.
"Because I was panicking, I did not even make effort to salvage my personal belongings at home. Even my baby is not wearing any pants.
"But I am grateful to Allah SWT that my family is safe," she said when met at a hall, Tuesday. Another fire victim who refused to be named said two men suffered burns when one of them fell from a connecting bridge from one house to another due to the people panicking. He said another person slipped when the firefighters were dousing the fire.
The witness said both men aged between 40s and 50s have been sent to the hospital here.
Meanwhile, Tawau Fire and Rescue Department chief, Rudy Fredzex said they reached the scene with 30 personnel, three fire engines and two utility vehicles were dispatched to the scene upon receiving a distress call at 9.05am.
He said they faced some difficulties to control the fire as the weather condition was windy, hot and the house were built closely with each other.
Rudy said the operation finally ended at 1.17pm with two men reported suffering from injuries and burnt.
He said the cause of the fire and losses are still under investigation.
He also thanked the police and Civil Defence Department (JPAM) personnel for assisting the firefighters in the incident.