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Saturday June 15, 2013

Menara Umno stands strong

THE 21-storey Menara Umno in Jalan Macalister, George Town, suffered no structural damage when the 15-metre tall lightning arrestor crashed down from atop the building in Thursday’s freak storm.

JKP Sdn Bhd chief executive officer Datuk Adzmi Ariffin said no cracks were found on the building and only the roof of the building was damaged.

“The fall of the lightning arrester was due to strong wind and not because of poor maintenance,” he said.

“We always carry out preventive maintenance occasionally on the building,” said Adzmi.

The aftermath: Onlookers taking a close look at the damage caused by the wind storm in Macalister Road on Thursday evening. The aftermath: Onlookers taking a close look at the damage caused by the wind storm in Macalister Road on Thursday evening.

JKP has been managing Menara Umno, built in 1997, after buying the building in 2007.

Penang Welfare, Caring Society and Environment Committee chairman Phee Boon Poh said authorities were working closely with the building management to remove the concrete pillar that had supported the lightning arrestor.

“We barricaded the building and closed that stretch of the road for about 1km,” he said.

An underground water pipe along the road was damaged and that repair could only be carried out after the pillar had been removed from the building.

On the ground: Penang CM Lim Guan Eng checking a fallen tree in Air Itam. On the ground: Penang CM Lim Guan Eng checking a fallen tree in Air Itam.

“The repair work on the ground may cause certain level of vibration and this is dangerous if the pillar is shaken,” he said.

Water supply to houses along the road and the nearby vicinity has been cut off because of the damaged water pipe.

Some roads in the area have also been closed to traffic to facilitate clean-up work by the Penang Municipal Council (MPPP) workers.

Most eateries and retail outlets located near Menara Umno did not open for business yesterday.

The storm also caused 27 trees on the island to be uprooted including one which damaged a convenient store in Gurney Drive.

The affected areas are Halaman Gurney (one tree), Kelawai Road (one tree), Jalan Burma (one tree, inside Adventist Hospital), Jalan Utama (one tree, near Block C of Penang Hospital), Jalan Ross (two trees), Jalan Cantonment (five trees), Jalan Brown (one tree), Jalan Brother James (seven trees), Lebuh Acheen (one tree), Jalan Padang Tembak (one tree), Jalan Thean Teik (one tree), Taman Perbandaran (three trees) and Taman Sri Pinang Market (one tree).

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