KUCHING, July 18: Parti Rakyat Sarawak (PRS) Youth chief Datuk Snowdan Lawan advises people not to leave their cooking in the kitchen unattended even for a second while the stove is being used.
According to a statement, he said this when visiting Rh Lepang Gerang, Sg Sayat in Engkilili yesterday with PRS Women Chief Datuk Seri Doris Brodie after the 26-door longhouse was razed on Monday (July 15).
An unattended cooking stove was believed to be the cause of the fire, said Snowdan, reiterating his advice to housewives or anyone who manned their kitchen not to leave cooking unattended until the cooking is done because it could cause fire outbreaks.
Tuai Rumah (TR) Lepang told Snowdan that despite using four fire extinguishers to put out the fire in the kitchen, the fire had spread to the ceiling and then to the rest of the longhouse.
“I was there, managed to grab hold of four units of the fire extinguishers, sprayed it all, put down (sic) the fire at the kitchen floor but could not salvage the ceiling portion that had been engulfed by the fire,” said TR Lepang.
Aided by the blowing wind, the fire spread very fast and the longhouse was swept by fire in just a short time, he said, adding the situation worsened as their water source was blocked.
TR Lepang said by the time the fire brigade came, there was almost nothing to salvage except the standing concrete posts and walls.
The 137 displaced victims are now staying temporarily at St John’s Chapel nearby while some are staying with relatives and in garden huts situated close to the longhouse.
During the visit, the PRS Youth and Women Wings handed over accumulated cash aid of RM20,000 to the victims.
“This is our small token of aid to you and your ‘anembiaks’ here. We hope this will help ease your immediate predicaments,” said Snowdan at the handing over ceremony.
Meanwhile, staff from the Welfare Department Sri Aman Division were also present to render their assistance. — DayakDaily