|‘PEOPLE APATHETIC ABOUT FIRE
The Star 17/01/2001
Kuala Lumpur : Malaysians are generally unaware of fire safety because of
their tidak apa attitude (apathy).
City Fire and
Rescue Department Director Leonard Athanasius said education on fire
safety was more important than having the best fire fighting equipment.
He also expressed regret over the low turn-out in
residential areas when fire and rescue personnel when to neighbourhoods to
train residents on fire safety and prevention techniques.
“We hold many campaigns on safety and prevention but
accidental fires due to carelessness still occur”.
“Only when something happens do the residents actively
become involved”, Athanasius told a press conference yesterday.
Athanasius also touched on Sunday’s incident where five
family members died in a pre-dawn fire at City Hall’s Sri Kelantan flats
He said the department was still investigating the cause
of fire which claimed taxi driver A. Kaleeswaran, 42, wife M. Tamilchelvi,
40, a clerk and their daughters, Shubashini, 17, Gayathri, 15 and Daiyahni,
“We have personnel from the operations, training and
enforcement divisions investigating the incident”, he said.
City Fire and Rescue Department public relations officer
Asst. Supt Mahinder Singh said preliminary investigations revealed that
the fire was caused accidentally.
Mahinder Singh said the initial report suggested that
the victims could not escape and were trapped during the blaze.
He later showed reporters a training video to describe
how the fire could swept through the premises.
The video revealed that a small fire lighted on a sofa
in a living room can be engulfed in flames and emit thick smoke within
According to Mahinder Singh, the first 90 seconds were
important because it was within this time that the fire could be easily
extinguished or the victims could plan their escape.
“In most instances, the danger is when the victims are
asleep and unaware until it’s too late”, he said.
Mahinder Singh said that an early warning system, like a
smoke detector, could help.
He urged the public to place more importance on fire
safety and prevention techniques.