Raging fire near Kota Kinabalu leaves 200 with almost nothing

Sebaran :

KOTA KINABALU: Siti Noni Mawani had just finished dinner with her family when she heard screams outside her house in the heavily-populated Kampung Lok Urai in Pulau Gaya, a 10-minute boat ride from the city.

The 59-year-old housewife peeked through her window and was shocked to see the sky lit with “an intense colour of red” accompanied by thick smoke billowing through the air.

“I soon found out it was fire quickly spreading not far from where our house is,” she said at the temporary shelter for fire victims in the Dewan Serbaguna Sembulan here today.

“We only managed to save important personal documents, a mobile phone and laptop before rushing out of our home.

“We could not even retrieve school items belonging to my youngest child who is sitting for the SPM examinations,” she said.

Miran Dullah (right) with his wife Siti Noni Mawani at the temporary shelter for fire victims in Sembulan, Kota Kinabalu today.

Siti is among the 200 residents who lost their homes after the blaze ripped through the closely-knit water village, destroying 73 houses in total. The inferno was even visible from the city centre.

The fire, which started about 8pm yesterday and was brought under control over two hours later, spread quickly through the village, congested with houses located close to each other.

Two men can only look at the trail of destruction left by the blaze.

According to the Civil Defence Force, a total of 79 victims were put up in two temporary shelters in Sembulan and Likas here. The shelter in Likas, housing 21 victims, was shut at 4pm today after the affected people returned to their relatives’ homes.

Siti’s husband, Miran Dullah said this was the first time such a big fire took place in their settlement since he moved there 35 years ago.

“I was really caught by surprise and almost fainted because I suffer from hypertension … I was struggling, walking side to side like a drunk person (when trying to flee)

“It happened so fast that I did not even have time to get my medicines,” said the 61-year-old father of eight.

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