Sat, 16 Sep 2000

Fire razes shops

PURWOKERTO, Central Java: Fire razed a three story Rita supermarket and several adjacent shops on Jl. Kol. Suprapto here on Friday morning. No one was injured in the blaze which caused an estimated Rp 5 billion (US$595,000) in material losses.

Eight fire engines rushed to the location, but the fire had already spread throughout the building and to other shops because the firefighters had difficult access to the area.

Sumiyati, a street vendor who was about to open her food stall at 5:30 a.m., said she saw fire came out of the supermarket's basement.

The supermarket owner, Buntoro, said he might have to let go his 500 staff as it would take some time to rebuild the supermarket.

Banyumas Police Precinct chief Supt. Imam Basuki said the police was still investigating the cause of the fire.

"We assumed that the fire was triggered by an electrical short circuit as witnesses said they saw the fire came from the basement where the electricity panel was located," he said. (45/lup)