SEREMBAN: Negri Sembilan State Fire and Rescue Department has confirmed arson as the cause of fire at Seremban main market, which had destroyed 90 percent of the premises' first floor.

Its director, Norazam Khamis confirmed the matter at a Press conference held at Wisma Negeri here today.

He said, based on the investigation conducted by the department, five accelerant samples had been found in front of a Kedai Makanan Dan Minuman Seng Hing, located on the first floor of the building.

"During the investigation, two sniffer dogs from the K9 unit were also deployed at the location and all of them pointed to the same place.

"The samples had been analysed by the department's Fire Investigation Lab team, and the results had shown that all samples contained ignitable liquid residue which was petrol," he said.

He added, it is also believed that the blaze was started by the petrol, poured in front of the shop's shutter door.

"We had also found an unused fire starter substance in a dustbin near the shop. Based on this finding, we conclude that arson is the cause behind the fire incident at Seremban main market. The department had also lodged a police report on Sept 15 based on the result," he said.

Norazam also said that the department's late arrival at the scene during the rescue operation was due to the late emergency call received by the department.

In the Sept 9 incident, about 90 per cent of the building’s first floor was destroyed, affecting about 197 traders involving food, florists, fruit and clothing stalls.

Known to locals as Pasar Besar Seremban, the main market is one of the town's landmark, built in 1975.

Meanwhile, Mohamad said, he is disappointed with the incident, which had caused huge loss to not only the traders but also to the state government.

"Due to this irresponsible act, the traders lost their income and the state government too has to spend a total of RM6 million for repairing works of the main market.

"I am very disappointed that this had happened, even more so when the result of the investigation had clearly showed that arson is behind this," he said.

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Negri Sembilan Fire and Rescue Department director Norazam Khamis addressing the press at Wisma Negeri, Negri Sembilan today. Pix by Iqmal Haqim Rosman

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