Tue, 30 Aug 1994

Fire razes shopping center, causing Rp 33 billion in losses

JAKARTA (JP): Fire yesterday razed the Cipulir Plaza, a five- story shopping center in Cipulir, South Jakarta, causing financial losses of more than Rp 33 billion (US$15,193,370). No casualties were reported.

The fire, which started around 6.50 a.m., ended at around noontime after the City Fire Department sent 18 fire engines to the location.

Eye witnesses said the fire started from the food bazaar owned by the Matahari Department Store group on the second floor and then spread rapidly to other floors in the building.

"I just punched my card when the fire alarm sounded at 6.50 a.m. and saw fire gutting the second floor," said Aidil Fitri, a security guard.

Aidil was among four people, including security guards Gawi Tuasikal and Sukirman, and Dartono a mechanical engineer, who first knew of the fire.

"But we could not do much because at that time the fire had burnt a major part of the (second) floor," said Tuasikal, adding that heavy smoke prevented him and fellow security guards from extinguishing the fire although they had portable fire extinguishers handy.

South Jakarta Mayor Pardjoko, police chief Lt. Col. Adang Rismanto and the mayoralty military garrison commander Lt. Col. Priyo Hardono arrived at the scene a few minutes later to help organize the rescue operation and fire fighting.

Lt. Col. Adang said that police were still investigating the cause of the fire.

"We have questioned several people, including eye witnesses, in connection with the blaze," Adang said.

The shopping center, owned by PT Bangunmustika Intipersada, was opened in January 1993 with 50 tenants, including the Matahari Department Store, with the rent of US$30 per square- meter. The five-story building also housed a video game parlor, a discotheque and a cinema.

"The total loss is estimated to reach Rp 30 billion ($13.81 million) for the building alone," said Irwan Masita, a manager of PT Bangunmustika.

Lt. Col. Priyo Hardono said firemen had difficulty controlling the fire because they could not enter the building.

"The design of the building made extinguishing the fire difficult as there were whole walls of plate glass," said Lt. Col. Priyo Hardono, adding that the building also lacked emergency stairs.


The Matahari Department Store Group occupied three floors of the building with a total space of 11,000 square-meter-- the first floor being allocated for fashion, second floor a supermarket and food bazaar while third floor was for electronic and household appliances.

"We have not calculated the material losses but all female employees have been transferred to Matahari stores in Melawai, Ratu Plaza and Blok M," said Rinasanty H. Arya, Matahari deputy customer service manager, adding that the Cipulir branch employed 350 people.

Marden, a manager of the karaoke music lounge, said that the fire caused the company financial losses of around Rp 2.1 billion--Rp 600 million for the karaoke music lounge and Rp 1.5 billion for the discotheque.(jsk/yns)