Left without a home after pre-dawn fire

The remains of the houses razed by fire at Kampung Bintawa Ulu Petra Jaya. Photo: Ramidi Subari

KUCHING: Anita and her family are homeless after a pre-dawn fire gutted their house at Kampung Bintawa Ulu last Saturday (Nov 14) morning.

The 54-year-old mother said she nearly fainted during the 1.47am incident.

“I was not sure how the fire was started. Everything happened so fast. My house turned into ashes just in the blink of an eye.

“When I saw how the fire engulfed my house, my body shook and I could not walk. My neighbours had to carry me,” the mother of two told reporters.

Bursting into tears when recalling the incident, she added that the only thing that  crossed  her mind at that time was to save herself and her two children.

“When smoke filled our  house, we immediately escaped through a narrow window grille. I only managed to save our birth certificates and identity cards (ICs) while my husband managed to save his motorcycle,” she said   after receiving donations from the Association of Wives of Ministers and Assistant Ministers (Sabati) at Surau Darul Taqwa, Kampung Bintawa Ulu on Thursday (Nov 19).

The incident, added Anita, was the second biggest test she faced this year after the Covid-19 pandemic which had badly affected her family. 

From second left SABATI Deputy Secretary Datin Dorothy Sylvester Pungga, SABATI Honorary Secretary Datin Dr, Zaliha Abdullah and SABATI Treasurer Datin Siti Shorgayah Ahmad Zaidin having some words with the Bintawa Ulu fire victims after the donation presentation ceremony. Looking on the left is Kampung Bintawa Ulu Headman KK Ashmat Lamat. Photo: Ramidi Subari

“We heavily rely on our daily pay. I provide cleaning services at people’s houses while my husband is also a daily paid worker.

“We are thankful to receive such assistance from the state government, especially Sabati which cares for fire victims like us.

“This donation  will help us  buy essentials to fix the house,” she added.

Another victim, Salleh Mohamad, said he suffered losses estimated at about RM300,000 due to necessities and valuables that could not be saved.

“I accept this test from Allah. I would like to thank  the state government, especially Sabati,  for the financial assistance,” he said.

Although he was glad all the fire victims were safe, Salleh said  the  fire was hard for him to accept.

“I hope the government can help us to build new houses because we have nowhere else to go to.

“I also have been told that there will be a cleaning-session ‘(gotong-royong)’ together with DBKU to build a temporary house for my family,” he said.

The fire, which destroyed five houses in Kampung Bintawa Ulu las tSaturday  left at least 35 people  homeless.  

In the 1.47am incident, two other houses were partially destroyed after firefighters successfully prevented the fire from spreading.  

Seven motorcycles and three cars were also destroyed in the blaze.

No injuries and casualties were reported while the cause of the fire is being investigated.