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Published: Wednesday January 18, 2012 MYT 6:59:00 AMUpdated: Wednesday January 18, 2012 MYT 6:55:33 PM
KUALA LUMPUR: The 348 Sentral building under construction near KL Sentral caught fire about 3.50am Wednesday, forcing the closure of roads leading to KL Sentral and Jalan Brickfields and resulting in a massive traffic jam in the area.
Kuala Lumpur Fire and Rescue Department deputy director Azizan Ismail said they received a distress call at 3.53am that the building was on fire and arrived at the scene five minutes later.
"The fire started on the 30th floor of the 33-floor building, which was expected to be completed at the end of this year.
"We encountered some problems fighting the blaze as the fire-fighting system installed was not fully functional.
"Due to this we had to set up a pump on the 25th floor to fight the blaze and this caused some delay in bringing the fire under control," he added.
A total of 10 fire engines and 72 personnel fought the blaze.
Police were also at the scene to control the ensuing traffic jam in the vicinity following the closure of roads leading to KL Sentral and the Brickfields area.
After the blaze was brought under control, only Jalan Tun Sambanthan was closed to traffic. The road was opened again to traffic about 1pm.
Malaysian Resources Corporation Berhad (MRCB), the developer and owners of 348 Sentral, said in a statement later that the building was still under construction and still at the structural stage.
“MRCB will take all necessary measures to ensure public safety within Kuala Lumpur Sentral. The investigation to the cause of the fire is underway.
“MRCB is grateful to the Fire and Rescue Department for responding in time to the distress call and assisting in putting out the fire,” the statement added.
Earlier, Twitter was abuzz with news of 'a building under construction near KL Sentral catching fire'.
"The new building nezt to KL sentral is burning!” tweeted Adam Tuan Mukriz @ATM2U.
"I can see a building on fire at KL Sentral from my house," said another tweet from Jonathan Mah @jonmah.
"There's a fire in KL Sentral, and I can see the smoke from Jalan Loke Yew looking at KL. Gonna be late for work... don't matter," tweeted Victor Tan @vicjamm.
"Fetched boyfriend to kl sentral, we caught a fire happening at a building nearby kl sentral!!!," said @angelinebabyy
"348 Sentral, the under construction building that is beside KL Sentral is now on fire, Jln Brickfields closed," said a tweet at KL Traffic Update @kltrafficupdate.
Priscilla Lim, said in an e-mail to The Star Online: "We live opposite the fire site. It's the new Shell building. The fire started early in the morning.
"We were jolted awake by the noise, somewhat like minor explosions around 6.40am. By then, the fire was very rapid.
"When we called 112 (emergency number), we were told that the fire brigade was already there. Around 7.10am, people were trying to put out the fire - hose was directed at the site from the top floor of our residence."
Meanwhile, Rapid KL said in a tweet that LRT and bus services at KL Sentral were not affected by the fire.
"LRT operations normal, KL Sentral stn open," it added.
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