Monday, 18 November 2019

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Arson suspected in blaze at municipal staff homes

Rangoon (Mizzima) – Fire officials suspect a blaze that broke out in municipal staff housing blocks in Insein Township, Rangoon, and made at least 180 people homeless, was the result of an arson attack as the tenant of the room where it started is missing, according to a senior official from the division’s fire department.

minglarzay-fire9ssThe fire tore through three six-room wooden apartment buildings and about 20 huts nearby on Thitsa Wardy Street in Aung San Ward of the township, and started in room six of building three.

Tenant and municipality employee Kyee Sein was missing, which raised suspicions over the cause of the fire, which was still unknown, the official from Rangoon Division Fire Department said. A criminal lawsuit had been filed in absentia against Kyee Sein under section 285/2010 of the Burmese Penal Code, sources said.

The streets in the Aung San Ward were very narrow, so fire engines had encountered difficulty getting to the site of the blaze, the fire official said.

“Thirty-two fire engines, 192 senior firemen, and 178 junior firemen under the supervision of nine management vehicles tried to douse the blaze. But, the streets are very narrow, so some fire engines couldn’t reach the spot,” the fire official said.

The flames started at 5:55 p.m. yesterday and were extinguished at 6:50 p.m.

Eleven families from municipality blocks and 35 families from the nearby huts were displaced by the blaze, the divisional fire department reported.

“Eighteen rooms were destroyed by the fire, but sevens rooms were vacant. Altogether 189 people were displaced by the fire,” a municipality spokesman said.
“Victims have sought refuge in temporary camps at Kan Oo Monastery.”

The Mayor of Rangoon will visit the grieving victims who are staff of the municipality and their families to offer comfort, the spokesman said.

The fire department estimated total loss caused at about 20 million Kyat (about US$20,000).

There were about 90 cases of fire in Rangoon Division in this year and the total value of damage was about 21 billion Kyat (about US$21 million), according to combined figures from fire departments in Rangoon Division.

Section 285 of the Penal Code outlines the crime of arson (which includes the negligent setting of fires) and its penalty, stating anyone who uses fire or flammable material “rashly or negligently as to endanger human life, or to be likely to cause hurt or injury to any other person, or knowingly, or negligently omits to take such order [care] … shall be punished with imprisonment”, of up to three years and a fine.


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