PUTRAJAYA: Almost RM2bil worth of property and assets were lost in fires nationwide last year, showing an increase in the last four years, said Fire and Rescue Department director-general Datuk Wan Mohd Nor Ibrahim.
While the increase in losses might be due to high property prices, he conceded that losses had shown an upward trend since 2010.
In 2010, some RM757mil in losses was recorded and the amount kept increasing, with RM927mil in 2011 and about RM1bil in 2012, he added.
He added that the department managed to save about RM12bil worth of assets last year. Wan Mohd Nor said the number of deaths due to fire dropped by 26%, from 98 in 2012 to 72 last year despite the number of fire cases increasing by 12% last year compared to 2012.
He also said the number of prank calls increased from 464 in 2012 to 469 last year.
“The low numbers are due to the filtering of calls by Telekom Malaysia before they are patched through to the department.
He said arson cases also showed a 6% increase last year. Wan Mohd Nor said the department would also be setting up 20 auxiliary fire stations in small towns to increase response time and efficiency.
The stations, costing about RM1mil each, would be located at small towns identified as fire hotspots, including Semenyih, Kuala Selangor and Kapar.
Urban Wellbeing, Housing and Local Government Deputy Minister Datuk Halimah Mohamed Sadique said it was committed towards supporting the department and that it would be supplied with the necessary logistical needs.