RM 30 million estimated loss in Hypermarket fire : Police
The estimated total loss in the fire that destroyed the Servay Hypermarket at Penampang New Township on Wednesday night is RM30 million, said Penampang District Police Chief, DSP Madang Usat. He said properties lost in the 7. 30pm blaze that took firemen several hours to put out, included money in an ATM machine owned by a bank. “The cause of the fire is still under investigation, as well as the people who were working at the time when the fire broke out,” he said, yesterday. Madang said a forensic team from the Fire and Rescue Department has been called in to assist in the investigation to determine the cause of the fire. He said initial investigation indicated that the fire could have been caused by a short-circuit at the upper floor of the two-storey building that housed the Hypermarket that was opened for business in Sabah in 1997. Madang said investigation to ascertain the cause of the fire will be carried out from various angles and it will involve questioning the Hypermarket’s employees and shoppers, as well as the workers hired by the operators of other retail outlets in the building. He said police received a total of 11 reports on the fire from various people, including workers and shoppers. He said statements from these people would be recorded as part of the investigation. “The blaze that destroyed and flattened the Hypermarket was the worst fire incident in two years in the State Capital,” said Madang, adding that 10 fire engines were deployed to fight the fire. He said works were still carried out yesterday to extinguish the tire in the rubbles. According to Madang, firemen were facing difficulty in putting out the fire because the building collapsed at the height of the blaze, causing the debris such as bricks and steel bars to pile up on the properties. The fire occurred while the Hypermarket was crowded with hundreds of customers who rushed out after being alerted. However, no casualties were reported as four people who were said to have fainted while being briefly trapped in the burning building were quickly rescued by personnel from Pasukan Tindakan Cemas Malaysia (PTCM). Two persons, including a 12-year- old, were trapped inside the toilet in the Hypermarket but were also saved. According to a sales assistant of the Hypermarket, the fire started in the back storeroom on the upper floor and spread quickly due to strong winds. The upper floor of the Hypermarket, which housed clothes and other flammable goods, was engulfed in flames soon after before collapsing hours later. According to Sabah Fire and Rescue Services Department Director Khirudin Drahman @ Husaini, the Department in Penampang was alerted about 7.38pm and rushed the first fire engine to the scene at about 7.4 1pm.