SIBU: Firemen battling a fire at the Rumah Andrew Lawai longhouse in Pakan, Sarikei Division, were hampered in their effort as they had to fill up their engines' water tanks several times from a fire hydrant located 500m away.
In the Tuesday night (Sept 3) fire, 20 residents lost their home.
No injury or death was reported.
According to the state Fire and Rescue Department, the 18 firemen from Bintangor and Sarikei stations had to make several trips to the fire hydrant.
"We had to pump water from the fire hydrant to our two fire engines several times, which was not only troublesome but time-consuming, especially in time of emergency like this fire," it said.
The department received a distress call at 8.30pm and immediately rushed personnel to the scene.
"We had to be on the defensive in fighting the fire as it had already affected the whole longhouse," the department said.
The fire was put under control 40 minutes later, but by then the longhouse had already been consumed.
The department said the fire started at door No. 5 of the longhouse.
The victims have been temporary put up at Meradong and Julau community hall.
From January 1 to September 3 this year, a total of 14 longhouse fires have been reported statewide.
The fires affected 181 of a total of 341 doors. Total loss reported was RM10.1mil, while property saved was RM13mil.
One death was reported and four people were injured as a result of these fires.
"Eight of the fires were caused by cooking activity, four due to short-circuits while two others are still under investigation," said the statement.