Burning bales of plastic tubing

Sepang Fire and Rescue Station personnel battling the fire at the open site near Pantai Sepang Putra.

A BUSH fire, which was further stoked by bales of plastic tubing at an open site beside Jalan Tasik Cempaka 4 in Pantai Sepang Putra (PSP), sent thick columns of smoke into the air.

Seen as far as 4km away in Sungai Pelek town, the fire prompted concern and alarm among residents who went to the scene as firefighters battled to control the blaze.

PSP resident Velayuthayan Doraisamy, who lives 10m away from the fire, heard crackling sounds similar to that of sizzling oil and came out to investigate.

“By that time, the fire had spread across the bushes,” said Velayuthayan.

Another resident Mohammad Fauzi Ishak said the Fire and Rescue Department had put out a bush fire at a nearby location a day before. But the area continued to smoke throughout the night.

Mohammad Fauzi said he had a sleepless night due to the choking smell, coupled by worry of the fire spreading to the residential area.

Resident Paramasivan Sockalingam, whose house was 200m away, said it was not altogether impossible for such a disaster as he had seen the fire spreading from an area of 0.8ha to 20ha within a short time.

“Who is to say that sparks from the bush fire will not fly over to our houses?” he said.

Residents were also irritated with the previous housing area contractor for leaving dozens of bales of plastic tubing in the open area, the cause of noxious smelling fumes in the fire.

Sepang Fire and Rescue station chief assistant fire superintendent Azrul Faizal Maariff said a team was dispatched a day before to put out a fire in the same area.

However, hot weather and dry wind reignited the smouldering embers.

“At 12.40pm the following day, we received another call informing that the fire had spread to the plastic tubing storage area. The timing could not have been worse because the area was experiencing water supply disruption due to a burst pipe.

“Our fire engines made several trips back and forth to replenish water supply. Luckily, water supply was restored by 4pm. The fire was put out by 1.30am,” he said.

Azrul, who confirmed that the black columns of smoke was due to burning plastic, said the cause of the fire was likely due to the hot weather.

He said the bush fire could have started from an open fire at a dragon fruit farm nearby.

Azrul said he saw residents burning rubbish in their garden during his visit to the site.

“Residents should have learned their lesson from the bush fire.

“If you must burn, stick around to make sure that the flames have completely died down before walking away. Don’t leave halfway because wind can cause the embers to fly and ignite on dry grass,” said Azrul.

Councillor Vijayarany Arumugam, who was at the scene with Sungai Pelek assemblyman Ronnie Liu said she would raise the matter of the abandoned plastic tubing to Sepang Municipal Council for further action.

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