BELAGA: An afternoon inferno left 680 villagers with nothing but the clothes on their backs after their longhouses at Uma Sambop, Long Semutut were razed to the ground yesterday.
No one was injured in the 3.30pm blaze.
A spokesman for the Sarawak Fire Department operations centre said the four blocks of wooden longhouses comprised 86 units and a church were home to 680 people, including 338 women.
Firemen from the Belaga fire station led by Helman Main were promptly despatched to the scene, about 69km from the station.
The journey from the fire station to Rh Uma Sambop took an hour and a half.
By the time the firefighters reached the scene, the fire had destroyed the longhouse. They only managed to prevent the fire from spreading to the adjacent Sekolah Kebangsaan (SK) Sambop building.
The firemen had to resort the village water storage tanks and open water sources.
The victims managed to get out to safety in time but failed to salvage their belongings.
The operation wrapped up at 7.30pm, and the cause of the fire as well as losses incurred are yet to be ascertained.
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