Commitment is about doing whatever it takes.—Anonymous

Fire leaves 2,000 people homeless

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Ikram Putra
The Jakarta Post/Jakarta

A fire tore through the district of Kalibaru in Cilincing, North Jakarta, early Monday morning, as residents slept after the Idul Fitri weekend.

The fire is believed to have been caused by an electrical short circuit, although some residents have suggested it may have been arson.

"Someone shouted 'fire' loudly and I realized the cracking noise was from the burning roof of my house and the neighbors," said resident Andini.

"I ran so fast ... All I could take with me was this small purse and now it's all I have," she told The Jakarta Post on Tuesday.

More than 2,000 residents are now homeless after the fire destroyed more than 700 homes.

The fire, which broke out at around 4.30 a.m., was believed to have been caused by an electrical short circuit in a house left empty by its owner over Idul Fitri.

"We suspect that the wires of an unused but still plugged-in electrical devices got hot and melted thus setting the fire," said Masy'ari, another resident.

But other residents said they suspected arson.

"Some of us have smelled kerosene around the empty house before the fire, but we didn't suspect anything that time. Another thing is, the house has been empty since three days before Idul Fitri so why the short circuit now?" said Herman.

According to Sabar, another resident, the empty house was located in the center of the densely populated neighborhood.

"There was strong wind at that time, almost like a typhoon ... That's why fire spread that fast. If it was really arson, I'd say it was well prepared," he said.

Another fire on Monday night destroyed about 40 houses in Tanah Abang, across the road from the Textile Museum.

A resident, Ira, said it had been difficult to put out the blaze because the nearby river was drying out and the piped water had been down since that morning.

"Many houses were also empty because the owners are in their hometowns."

A fire also razed a three-story nightclub, Superstar, in Teluk Gong, North Jakarta, at dawn on Tuesday. It too is believed to be the result of a short circuit.

There were no casualties in the incident because the club was temporarily closed during the Idul Fitri holiday.

Meanwhile, another fire destroyed a few houses in Mampang, South Jakarta, on Tuesday afternoon.

In the past two weeks, there have been 15 fires in Jakarta. (08)

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