SIBU, July 16 (Bernama) -- Sibu suffered the third fire in nearly a month early today when a blaze destroyed six houses in Tiong Hua Road Lane 13.
Three families were made homeless by the fire, which started at 12.30 am at one of two unoccupied houses. One of the six houses was used as a centre by the People's Volunteer Corps (Rela).
The family of security guard Gelana anak Jambi, 24, was one of the families affected. Seeing a neighbouring house on fire, Gelana woke up his wife and toddler son and they ran out of their house.
"In our haste, we left everything behind, including our identity cards," said Gelana, who is from Sungai Poi in Kanowit and had rented the house for over a year now.
Another victim, See Hua Daily News feature writer Wee Hui Cheng, 27, said she had been staying in the area with her parents for 40 years.
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She said it took firemen about two hours to put it out the blaze and prevent it from spreading to other houses in the crowded neighbourhood.
State Minister of Local Government and Community Development Datuk Seri Wong Soon Koh and Pelawan state assemblyman David Wong Kee Woan visited the scene of the fire.
Soon Koh said the Welfare Department and the Resident's Office would help the affected families.
He said he had been informed by other residents that the fire started from one of the unoccupied houses which was often used by a group of people to hold their barbecue and drinking sessions.
He said they claimed that they had reported the matter to the police but no action had been taken.
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Soon Koh said the police, Rela and neighbourhood committees in any housing area should be vigilant against such undesirable groups breaking into empty houses to hold their barbeque or drinking sessions or engage in other undesirable activities which could adversely affect others.
At about 11 am yesterday, 16 shops in Tukang Besi Road in the heart of town were destroyed in a fire.
On June 19, sixty houses in Kampung Datu/Kampung Hilir were also destroyed by a fire which made 597 people from 144 families homeless.
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