Close watch after the blaze

Major blaze: Three warehouses designated for the storage of used copper metal and wires were destroyed in a fire in Bukit Selambau, Kedah.

SUNGAI PETANI: A hazardous material (Hazmat) team has been deployed to the scene where three recycling warehouses were destroyed in a fire here to ensure there is no poisonous gas emission.

Kedah Fire and Rescue Department director Awang Hidzel Awang Bujang said the team would monitor the situation to prevent pollution which could pose a health hazard to the local community in Bukit Selambau.

He did not rule out the possibility that the fire could have been caused by chemical reactions.

“The explosion was probably due to chemical reactions caused by old AAA batteries stored in the warehouses.

“We found traces of these burnt batteries during the investigation. The spark of explosion could be due to this.

“We are still investigating the cause of the fire as there is still thick smoke emitting from the building,” he said.

On Sunday, the state Fire and Rescue Department received a distress call at about 8pm that three warehouses had caught fire.

A 10-second video of the incident, which shows thick smoke and firework-like sparks filling the air, was also circulated on social media platforms.

It is learnt that the warehouses were used to store copper, metal and wire materials.

Initial investigations found that the warehouses had been processing alloy into aluminum extracted from used electronic items for about five months.

Smoke billowing from the remnants at one of the warehouses.Smoke billowing from the remnants at one of the warehouses.

Awang Hidzel also dismissed speculation that the fire was caused by fireworks, adding that the blaze was contained before it could spread to nearby buildings and factories.

“No one was hurt during the incident,” he said.

Some 20 firemen and three water tankers from Aman Jaya, Sungai Petani, Kulim Hi-Tech and Kulim Yan fire stations were dispatched to the location.

Voluntary firefighters from Bukit Selambau, Jeniang, Semeling, Bedong, Sik, Gurun and Kota Sarang Semut were also deployed to the scene.

Meanwhile, an elderly man died in a fire that razed six houses in a water village in Sabah’s east-coast Semporna district.

The charred remains of the unidentified man were found among the debris by firemen after they put out the blaze at Kampung Tepian Bakau at 10am yesterday.

He is believed to be a resident in his 70s.

A spokesman for the Fire and Rescue Department said they received a distress call at about 9am and firemen managed to bring the blaze under control and stop it from spreading to other closely linked houses in about 45 minutes.

Six wooden houses were completely destroyed together with a tuckshop and two vehicles in the incident, the spokesman said.

“The victim was discovered at about 11.16am among the debris of one of the houses,” he said.

The body has been handed over to the police for further action.

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