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Fires dash hopes in Jakarta during Idul Fitri JAKARTA - The Idul Fitri celebration was over for Parlan, 36, as he stared at what was left of his house on Jl. Kampung Muka in Lodan, North Jakarta, after a massive fire early on Saturday. "I don't know what all this means. We had just bought the house after saving little by little for years. Now it's gone. But I will keep praying that we can rebuild the house soon," he told The Jakarta Post.

It's due to God's blessings, he said, that his wife and their three children were unharmed by the fire. "Most of our neighbors had gone to their hometowns (for Idul Fitri) so I don't know where the fire came from. I suspect that there was a short circuit in one of our neighbors' houses," he added. North Jakarta fire agency had to send 37 fire trucks with some 200 firemen to the location.

The fire began at 3:45 a.m., and the firemen struggled for over four hours to extinguish it. "Luckily, there were no fatalities in the incident. We believe that it was caused by a short circuit in one of the houses," Saptoko, firefighter unit leader, told the Post later in the afternoon. The fire, which destroyed 295 houses in the neighborhood, was only one of two fires in North Jakarta that day.

Later at 10 a.m., the fire agency had to send 12 fire trucks to Cilincing to extinguish a fire in a container depot there. The fire was extinguished in just over half an hour. No fatalities were reported although several buildings were razed. Aside from the Saturday's fires, thousands of other families, most of which left their homes vacant to visit their hometowns lost their houses and dozens of others were seriously injured in at least five fires across Greater Jakarta during Idul Fitri on Thursday and Friday.

Dozens of families lost their homes and kiosks on Thursday after fire razed Cimanggis Market in Depok, West Java while later in the evening, three people were injured in a fire that razed dozens of kiosks in Senen market, Central Jakarta. At least three more fires took place on Friday. At 10 a.m., fire razed 27 houses in Jelambar, West Jakarta while in the afternoon 37 houses burned down in a fire in Taman Sari, also in West Jakarta. Dozens of people were injured in both incidents although no fatalities were reported.

Later in the evening, dozens of houses in Tegal Alur, Cengkareng, Tangerang regency, were also reduced to ashes after a blaze in a neighborhood there. "There were no fatalities in any of the fires because most houses were empty. Most families had left their homes to visit their hometowns in the provinces or for recreational activities. However, we believe many of them did not disconnect their appliances," Soeparno, field coordinator at the Jakarta fire agency, told the Post.

Fires and robberies are common when houses are left vacant during the Idul Fitri holiday, despite warnings by the authorities for the public to secure their houses before leaving.



Posted in Ramadan @ 06 November 2005 15:21 CET by Jeroen · 'Blog' RSS feed · permalink






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