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JOHOR BARU: More than a hundred people were left homeless after 22 squatter houses were razed in a fire at Kangkar Tebrau here yesterday afternoon.
The 3.16pm incident occured when fire began to spread rapidly along two parallel rows of wooden houses along Jalan Nipah 1 and Jalan Nipah 2.
Johor Jaya Fire and Rescue Department deputy commander, Tahrin Saad said the operation posed a challenge due to low water pressure in the neighbourhood.
However, the flames were put under control within 10 minutes, upon the firemen's arrival.
Tahrin said factors such as the houses wooden construction, strong wind, hot weather, and close proximity between each of the houses caused the fire to spread very quickly.
"The firemen were forced to source water from a large drain. The operation was assisted with firemen from Johor Jaya and Pasir Gudang stations, with help from another 21 volunteers firefighters.
"The cause and damages incurred from the fire are being investigated."
Tahrin, said there were also reports of a group of residents who provoked firemen by hurling insults at the latter, and this had temporarily hindered efforts by to douse the flames.
Meanwhile, resident Zawiyah Sahak, 30 and her family of five are now left with only the clothes on their backs following the incident.
She said some RM5,000 worth of jewellery and other household items were destroyed.
"I was working at the food stall nearby when the fire broke out. I am grateful that one of my daughters who was asleep during the incident, managed to escape the fire before it destroyed our home."
Victims, Lelawati Abdul Fatah, 19, and her husband were shocked to find their newly-purchased flat screen television stolen after they placed it outside their home while salvaging their belongings during the fire.
"I can't believe someone could do such a thing during the panic. We placed the TV outside the house, and after removing other items out of the house, we notived it had disappeared," said Lelawati.