Villagers extinguish fire before it spreads through longhouse

The kitchen areas of three units at Julut Uma Kaba longhouse that are destroyed by fire.

By Nancy Nais

KUCHING, July 26: Villagers from a 72-doors Julut Uma Kaba longhouse in Long Ikang, Baram, successfully put out a fire that could have burnt down their home early this morning.

Their alertness to detect fire early and their know-how in fire-fighting have definitely saved the whole longhouse, which has about 1,000 residents, from huge losses.

According to the Fire and Rescue Department (Bomba) Miri, only the kitchen areas of three units were destroyed in the incident.

Residents checking the damages of their kitchen area.

A villager, known only as Madam Apong, made a distress call to the Bomba to report the fire which started from one of the kitchens where residents were barbecuing fishes on wooden stove at about 1.30am.

Bomba Miri and Zone 6 chief Law Poh Kiong said the villages managed to use their fire extinguishers (APA) to prevent the spread and successfully stop the fire by 2.30am.

According to the Department’s records, he revealed that the longhouse chief Catherine Madang had attended the Bomba’s Summer Camp, River Outreach Programme, talks and demonstration on fire safety and prevention.

The aftermath of a kitchen fire at Julut Uma Kaba longhouse.
Villagers are grateful to these fire extinguishers that saved their home.
Marudi fire station chief Maureen Sim, who went to Long Ikang with her team this afternoon, said a villager, Philip Balan, was the first to spot the fire before shouting for help.
“He acted fast by using water from his own tank, and at the same time, shouted for help. Another villager, Jacob Pulo, and others rushed to Catherine’s house to pick up nine fire extinguishers.
“They conducted a fire break to stop the fire from spreading by using the extinguishers, two water pumps with 5.0 hose power to take water from nearby river and another portable water pump to cool the ceiling,” Maureen said.
The journey from Marudi fire station to Long Ikang took about five hours to reach by road.
Sim inspecting the fire scene.
“My team and I are very proud of the longhouse residents who have successfully fought the fire that was quite big, which could have caused 1,000 people homeless.
“With the fire extinguishers and knowledge given to them in previous the Bomba komuniti programme, they made sure they put out the fire properly and fast enough to prevent it from spreading.”
No casualties were reported. — DayakDaily