KUALA LUMPUR - All the high drama as smoke billowed out of the national police headquarters on Wednesday started from "a pile of waste paper".
Bukit Aman Criminal Investigation Department director Comm Datuk Seri Mohmad Salleh, whose department was affected by the evening fire, said unwanted files and papers had been dumped at the corridor of Level 10.
This might be where the fire started.
The area has been cordoned off as police and the Fire and Rescue Department investigate the cause of the fire.
They predict that the most likely cause would be the smoking that went on there and the discarded cigarette butts.
Comm Mohmad said no "secret documents" were affected, putting to rest intense conspiracy theories from Malaysians who equated the incident to destroying evidence related to 1MDB.
"It was just waste paper. Old papers that we were no longer using, application forms, book files.
"We had put these at the corridor, waiting to dispose of them," he told The Star after accompanying new Deputy Home Minister Datuk Nur Jazlan Mohamed, who visited the site yesterday.
Inspector-General of Police Secretariat assistant head (Corporate Communications) Asst Comm Datin Asmawati Ahmad slammed the online speculation.
"They (commenters) are ignorant of the facts of the case," she said. "They are irresponsible and they don't realise the impact of their actions."
The fire broke out at about 7.30pm on Wednesday on the 10th floor of Menara 2 and filled the ninth floor with black smoke. Four fire trucks and 24 firefighters took about half an hour to put out the blaze.
KL Fire and Rescue Department chief Khirudin Drahman said the stacks of paper in the corridor were fire hazards.
"It was poor housekeeping. It's always the case, the waste material become fireload if any fire source is present," he said.
"Before Raya, my office had sent a letter to heads of departments in government agencies to look into possible fire breakouts due to unsafe conditions plus poor housekeeping.
"We would like to advise people to be careful, be vigilant and watch out," he said, adding that in most previous cases, office fires started due to smoking activities or cigarette butts.