TAWAU: “We didn’t even get to eat the pre-dawn meal as everything went up in flames,” said Mariana Mapaenre, 31, one of the fire victims which involved five houses and a kongsi home in Kampung Merotai Besar, here.
The fire, which started at 12.30am, had left the 43 residents from 11 families homeless.
She said she had prepared her family’s faviourite dish, Ayam Masak Lengkuas (Chicken with Galangal) before going to bed.
“We were woken up by the commotion outside the house. I though that it was just a group of children making noise to wake the villagers up for sahur (pre-dawn meal).
“When I stepped outside, I saw the fire gutting the houses and the people were shouting, asking us to save ourselves,” she said when met at the scene.
Tawau Fire and Rescue Department head Sharudy Delamin said 26 firemen in two engines were deployed after receiving a distress call at 12.42pm.
He said the operation ended at 4.10am.
In a separate incident, firemen faced difficulties in locating water sources in an incident in Kampung Bum-Bum, Semporna, forcing the team to demolish the structures to prevent the fire from spreading.
Semporna Fire and Rescue Department head Fazizul Hizam Borhan said the team had to take swift action to prevent further damages.
“We had to carry out fire break as our men, who were assisted by the Marine policemen, as the village does not have an open water source and the sea tide was low at the time of incident, reported at 1.16am. No injuries were reported,” he said, adding that operation ended at 4.50am.