Fire in Brunei town causes total loss of over $7m

Last week's fire in the heart of Seria town is estimated to have caused over $7 million in losses to the building and store property.

Fire and Rescue Commanding Officer of Belait District Branch B Muhd Shareeni Hj Mohd Yussof said the blaze that swept four units caused four million dollars worth of damage to the building, while over three million was lost in store inventory belonging to the five affected premises.

As of yesterday afternoon, investigations by the Fire and Rescue Department revealed that an electrical overload, resulting from overuse, was believed to have caused the fire.

The fire broke out on Friday afternoon and took four hours to bring under control. "The unaffected outlets in the building have been given a safety clearance to resume operations," said the commanding officer yesterday.

Bank Islam Brunei Darussalam, located at the opposite end of the building, began operations on Monday, having closed on Saturday. Standard Chartered Bank, also on the same row, posted a notice that their branch would be closed until further notice.

The fire swept four of the build-ing's top right units, and hit three on the ground floor. Milimewah, occupying two units both top and bottom, and a mobile store adjacent to it, were the hardest hit.

"The bottom unit fourth from the left, a goldsmith, was mostly only affected by water damage from our efforts to fight the fire from its top unit," said Muhd Shareeni.

An employee from Yun Hing Trading Company, an electronics store located next to the goldsmith, said the outlet closed the day after the fire, but resumed on Sunday with shorter opening hours.

Kaizen Sushi, located on top of the electronics store posted a notice that they would begin operations on October 1.

During the fire's peak between 4 and 5pm, over 50 firefighters and 10 fire trucks were deployed to bring the fire under control.

After the fire was contained, firemen continued to work into the wee hours of the morning to put out the embers. To put out the smoke, another team was deployed to continue the operation until after 9am on Saturday.