Six firefighters and police officers injured in Tatau boat explosion

Photo shows one of the firefighters injured in the explosion.

By Nancy Nais

TATAU, Sept 17: Despite knowing that they are putting their lives at risk each time they go out on duty, firefighters remain steadfast when it comes to serving the community.

Their mettle was put to the test this afternoon at 2.51pm when three officers from the Tatau Fire and Rescue Department (Bomba) fire station suffered burns while another fainted after an engine boat exploded.

Others injured included three personnel from the Royal Malaysia Police (PDRM).

The officers was part of a search and rescue (SAR) team attending to the case of two men reported missing while fishing at Kuala Serupai, Flatform Temana A on Sept 16.

According to Bomba Sarawak director Khirudin Drahman, three of his firefighters suffered burns to their bodies, while another fainted after the explosion.

A female police officer also suffered burns while her two colleagues had minor injuries.

Photo shows injuries on a firefighter caused by the explosion.

“The SAR team had to use one of the villager’s boat which has a larger engine capacity to get to the location where the two men who went fishing were reported missing.

“The explosion occurred when the boat handler tried to start the engine,” Khirudin disclosed in a statement.

He explained that when the firefighters and police personnel arrived at the victims’ longhouse at 1.41pm, they had a discussion where it was decided that Bomba and police boats were too small to conduct SAR operations at sea.

Furthermore, weather conditions were reportedly windy with rough seas.

Villagers then suggested the SAR team to use one of their boats which has a double engine with 150 h/p power each.

“While the boat handler was attempting to start the engine, the engine battery exploded. The battery was kept in a closed compartment, together with benzine fuel.

“During the attempt to start the engine, sparks suddenly occurred. The combination of gas and vapour caused the explosion in the fuel and battery compartment,” Khirudin added.

The compartment where the explosion took place.

As a result of the explosion, several people nearby were injured and immediately taken to Tatau Polyclinic for treatment.

One of the firefighters was later referred to Bintulu Hospital. — DayakDaily