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Rangoon fire razes 13 homes

Rangoon (Mizzima) - Fire in a suburban township in Burma’s former capital of Rangoon on Monday evening destroyed 13 houses, according to fire officials.

An official at the Rangoon Division fire department told Mizzima that the fire started from an electric shock in the transformer of building number 142 in ‘Nga Htat Gyi’, home to a famous five-storey pagoda in Bahan

“Hundreds of monks came to extinguish the fire because there are several Buddhist monasteries in the area. And the fire brigade could not immediately arrive at the scene, as they had to refill water tanks. About 30 fire trucks arrived later, but since the area was narrow the trucks could not enter and it complicated the situation,” an eyewitness told Mizzima.

The fire, which started at about 5 p.m. (local time), was extinguished by Buddhist monks and others after about half an hour, the eyewitness added.

A fire department official, who spoke with Mizzima on condition of anonymity, said at least 85 people have become homeless due to the blaze and temporary shelters are being built for them in the compound of a traditional medicine hospital in vicinity.

fire-broke-outs1But some of the homeless told Mizzima they have yet to receive any assistance from the government, with only help from the neighborhood available.

“I don’t know, maybe it is because it happened suddenly that the authorities are not able to respond as yet. But locals in our neighborhood are extending their help,” a homeless man told Mizzima.

While the fire on Monday is the most devastating inferno in Rangoon this year to date, fire from electric shocks are not uncommon in the metropolis, according to an experienced Rangoon firefighter.

“One of the main reasons is due to the shortage of electricity. As electricity is often not available, people forget to switch off their switches when going out for work. But during their absence electricity will come back and the switches are on. Wires get shocked and sparks erupt with no one to tend to the situation,” explained the firefighter.

Earlier, on January 7th, five houses were burnt to the ground in the Rangoon suburban township of Hlaing. Similarly, another four houses were razed in Thuwana Township on January 10th.

Last Updated ( Tuesday, 26 January 2010 16:30 )  

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