ALOR SETAR: More than 200 people were made homeless when fire destroyed 58 houses in Bukit Malut, Langkawi.
The fire started at about 11.30pm on Monday when most of the residents in the fishing village were at home.
Langkawi Fire Station chief Yaakob Hassan said 40 personnel took more than an hour to bring the fire under control and prevent it from spreading to another 243 houses and properties nearby.
He said the department was assisted by some 30 policemen, the Civil Defence Department and Rela.
Yaakob said the fire was put out at about 1.30am yesterday with losses estimated at about RM1mil. He said that the department was still investigating the cause of the incident.
The fire was the third that had occurred in the area since 2005 when more than 200 houses were gutted.
One of the victims Ismail Musa, 67, said that he was drinking coffee with several committee members after a village development and security meeting when a relative told him that his house was on fire.
“I could not take anything out as my house was already in flames when I got there,” he said adding that he was relieved that his family members managed to escape.
Ismail estimated the losses to be more than RM10,000.
He said that since the houses were located very close to each other, the villagers had a difficult time trying to salvage their belongings.
Newly-appointed Kedah Umno chairman Datuk Paduka Ahmad Bashah Md Hanipah announced RM1,000 in aid to each of the families whose houses were destroyed in the fire.
He said that half of the aid was from the Federal Government while the rest from the state Umno.
Ahmad Bashah said that the aid would be handed out on Dec 31. “We will also provide school uniforms to children from the affected families,” he said.