More than 100 made homeless in Sarawak longhouse blaze

The longhouses at the height of the blaze on Monday evening. (Sarawak Fire and Rescue Department pic.)

BINTULU: More than 100 residents from about 40 families at Uma Bawang in Sungai Asap, Belaga were made homeless when two blocks of longhouses and a church were razed on Monday evening.

A Sarawak Fire and Rescue Department Operations Task Force Centre spokesman said they received a distress call at 6.03pm and despatched the 11 members of the Bintulu Fire and Rescue Station to the scene.

He said they took about one-and-a-half hours through Jalan Bintulu-Bakun to reach the longhouses.

“The operations commander reported that two blocks of two-storey longhouses were razed,” he said, adding that the fire was brought under control at 7pm by 45 personnel from the Uma Daro Volunteer Fire Brigade Team in Sungai Asap.

He said a 70-year-old woman, identified as Huring Laing, suffered burns on her back.

The fire was believed to have started from a room in one of the longhouses.

Sarawak Fire and Rescue Department assistant director Tiong Ling Hii said they had yet to ascertain the exact number of residents affected by the fire as at 10.45pm, or if more people were injured.

In another fire at a longhouse in Selangau on Sunday night, a disabled woman was burned to death and her elderly mother was injured.

The department said Riti Jubi, 43, died in the fire which destroyed the 22-door Chandi Longhouse, and her mother, Diah Bunyah, 80, suffered 10% burns.

“Only Riti and Diah were in the longhouse as the other residents were attending a funeral in the neighbourhood and some of the quarters were unoccupied,” it said.

The longhouse has about 300 residents.