150 houses razed in Langkawi fire

LANGKAWI - A settlement in Bukit Malut here went up in flames for the fourth time in 11 years, with the latest fire razing 150 houses.

The settlement consists of wooden houses, mostly built on stilts over the sea and occupied by people of Myanmar origin.

In yesterday's incident, the fire broke out at about 1pm when many of the villagers were heading to the mosque for Friday prayers.

Kedah Fire and Rescue Department public relations officer Nur Hafizah Mohammad Lukman said the department received a distress call at 1.29pm and managed to bring the fire under control at about 3pm.

"The fire razed about 150 houses. Three residents suffered light injuries and have been sent to the hospital," she said.

The cause of fire was still being investigated and the losses were believed to be in the hundreds of thousands of ringgit.

Fires had also occurred in the same settlement in 2005, 2007 and 2010.

Kuah assemblyman Nor Saidi Nanyan said he saw several villagers jumping into the sea to escape the fire which had spread rapidly as the houses were built close to each other.

He said the settlement had more than 1,000 houses with a population of about 3,000 people.

Langkawi MP Datuk Nawawi Ahmad said he had set up a working committee to help the victims.

"We'll put up tents as temporary shelters and mobile toilets for them and also provide them with food," he said.