Sat, 05 Jul 2003

Rp 49b lost as fire razes markets in W. Sumatra

Kasparman, The Jakarta Post, Padang, West Sumatra

Fire razed 71 shops in the Aur Kuning wholesale market in Bukittinggi, a small town 87 kilometers north of the West Sumatra capital of Padang, on Thursday evening.

Fire also ravaged 16 shops in Lubukbasung market in Agam regency, around 110 kilometers north of Padang, early Friday.

Material losses from the fires are estimated at Rp 49 billion (US$5.9 million). Vendors in Aur Kuning market suffered around Rp 48 billion in losses while the Lubukbasung vendors suffering Rp 1 billion in losses. No casualties were reported.

West Sumatra governor's office information agency head Yuen Karnova said on Friday that the fire in Bukittinggi started at 7 p.m.

Locals had attempted to extinguish the fire before eight fire trucks from the nearby towns of Payakumbuh, Padang Panjang, Limapuluh Kota, Tanah Datar and Lubukbasung arrived.

Eyewitnesses said the fire started in block J, where many shops sold food and bottled drinks.

Bukittinggi Police deputy Comr. Tjatur Abrianto said the police had yet to establish the cause of the fire.

The fire in Lubukbasung started at 5 a.m. on Friday.

Eyewitnesses said the fire destroyed jewelry and plastic shops and took two hours to extinguish.

The fire brigade arrived late at the fire as they had earlier been sent to fight the Bukittinggi fire. The cause of the second fire is also still under investigation.