SRI AMAN, Sept 16: More than 70 people were left homeless after their 24-door longhouse Rh Naga Rasau in Engkilili was razed to the ground in a fire this evening.
The Sarawak Fire and Rescue Department (Bomba) operations centre received the distress call from MERS 999 at 5.13pm.
More than 20 firefighters from Sri Aman and Betong fire stations were despatched to the scene, including two teams of volunteer firefighters from Engkilili and Lubok Antu.
Operations commander PPgB William Baheng reported that by the time they arrived, the double-storey permanent structure longhouse was already destroyed, except for the kitchen areas which were built separately from the living rooms.
As firefighters began to put out the fire, they found there was no water from the existing fire hydrant, prompting them to change their method to relay pumping by stretching the hose as far as 800 feet from two fire engines to a nearby drain (open water source).
According to village chief Naga Tajee, the fire allegedly started from door number 14.
The occupants had used a fire extinguisher but failed to to put out the fire as it spreading rapidly to the second floor and the whole structure within minutes.
Thorough investigations will be conducted to determine the cause of fire.
No injuries were reported.
Bomba personnel also faced communication constraints as there was no access or GIRN to report the latest situation to their control room. — DayakDaily