Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Fire destroys hundreds of homes

A woman looks at the remains of her home in Hlaing Tharyar township last week. Kaung Htet / The Myanmar TimesA woman looks at the remains of her home in Hlaing Tharyar township last week. Kaung Htet / The Myanmar Times

About 1400 people have been left homeless after a fire destroyed almost 340 homes near an industrial zone in Hlaing Tharyar township on February 6.

The fire started at 12:15pm in Padonmar Street, also known as Middle village, and quickly spread to nearby homes, said U Zaw Win, head of the Insein township Fire Services Department.

Officials put the damage at more than K1 billion (about US$1.2 million) but no injuries were reported.

It took firefighters about one and a half hours to extinguish the blaze, which started in the home of U Phoe Zaw and Daw Khaing at No 108 Padonmar Street when they were cooking pork on an open fire.

“North Okkalapa, North Dagon, Shwe Pyi Thar, Bayintnaung and Insein fire stations all sent crews to the fire. Ten fire engines in all came to the scene,” U Zaw Win said.

Local administrative officer U Htain Soe said the authorities had opened a relief centre at Aung Zay Yar Min Monastery and altogether 1388 people were staying there.

“We have already opened two medical centres for those people. We have plans to build 20 toilets for both men and women. We are also meeting the material needs of the refugees, such as drinking water and clothes,” he said. “We will continue helping them until everything has been settled.”

Residents said the fire quickly swept through the quarter, which comprised mostly thatch bamboo homes.

“I don’t remember when the fire started but by the time I got back from collecting my children from school everything was just ash,” said a 40-year-old woman.

A woman in her 50s said her home had been spared by the flames but her possessions had been stolen shortly after the fire was extinguished.

“Our property was not destroyed in the fire – the thieves took [our things]. My husband told me to stay at home to guard our things I ran away because I thought the house was going to catch fire.”