KOTA KINABALU: A total of 221 Kampung Meruntum villagers in Putatan were left homeless after a fire destroyed 35 houses at the coastal village.
No one was injured during the incident on Saturday but three firemen were electrocuted while putting out the fire.
Their conditions were said to be stable.
The State Fire and Rescue Department said it received a distress call at 5.40pm, and a team was at the site at 5.53pm and brought the fire under control by 10.01pm.
The operation involved 54 firemen from three stations – Penampang, Kota Kinabalu and Lintas – who were assisted by 10 military firemen.
The cause of the fire was still being investigated.
At least 62 of the victims were temporarily housed at the Serigai multipurpose hall on Saturday night.
The Civil Defence Force that served as the disaster management secretariat said another temporary shelter was opened at Dewan Keramat with 19 victims placed there as of press time.
State Community Development and People’s Wellbeing Minister Shahelmey Yahya, who visited the site, said it was a very trying time for those affected since the tragedy occurred on the third day of Hari Raya.
The Tanjung Keramat assemblyman also thanked the various agencies involved in the handling of the disaster and in assisting the victims.
He said the issue to rebuild the houses would be discussed later as the focus now was to register the fire victims, including giving out assistance.
“We will hold discussions with the state government and district office for further action.
“As of now, we want to update the details of those affected so that assistance can be rendered, ” said Shahelmey, adding that 45 families have been registered so far.