A factory warehouse holding plastic resin, cooking oil and flour in Tingkat Perusahaan 2, Butterworth, was razed in a pre-dawn fire.
The fire, which broke out at 4.45am yesterday, was the second in four days at the Prai Industrial Estate.
Quick action by firemen prevented the blaze from spreading to two neighbouring warehouses, one of which stores highly flammable chemicals and the other, raw paper supplies.
All three warehouses are owned by Century Chemical Works Sdn Bhd, which has leased them out.
On Tuesday, two welders and a fitter died when a gas tank exploded at Fatty Chemical (M) Sdn Bhd in Lorong Perusahaan Satu.
State deputy Fire and Rescue Department operations director Mohd Salleh Sarbini said 60 firemen and seven engines from Prai, Bukit Mertajam and Butterworth stations rushed to the site after they received a call at 5.10am.
“The fire was under control by 5.30am. We were also assisted by about 40 volunteer fire fighters from Sungai Puyu, Raja Uda, Bagan Ajam, Juru and Machang Bubok,” he said, adding that there were no casualties.
Following the fire, police cordoned off Tingkat Perusahaan Dua for fear that the fire might spread or pose a danger to passing traffic.
Hundreds of factory workers heading for Lorong Perusahaan Dua in Prai were stranded outside the area or caught in a massive traffic crawl that lasted about five hours from 6am. Trailers parked along road shoulders worsened the traffic situation.
Siemens VDO Component Sdn Bhd engineer Arif Anuar, 25, said he arrived at his workplace at 7.30am but was told by his superiors not to enter the factory premises until the situation in the surrounding area was declared safe.
“I could see thick smoke several kilometres away from the industrial area on my way to work,” he said.
Eric Chew, 33, a manager with Cargill Feed Sdn Bhd, located some 50m away from the fire scene, said about 10 workers were on duty when the fire broke out around 4.45am.
“When I learnt of the fire 20 minutes later, I immediately asked my workers to leave the factory,” he said.