The following article was translated using both Microsoft Azure Open AI and Google Translation AI.
JAKARTA, KOMPAS – Hundreds of semi-permanent houses in the densely populated area of Jalan Kapuk Utara 2, Kapuk Muara, Penjaringan, North Jakarta, were burned down on Sunday (30/7/2023). This is the fifth fire incident that has occurred in the area.
Until 4:30 pm, thick black smoke is still visible in the residential area around RW 003, Kapuk Muara’s North Kapuk Road 2. This thick smoke causes limited visibility and discomfort in the eyes and breathing if inhaled for too long. Some unaffected residents are staying away from the area.
Meanwhile, firefighters took turns attempting to subdue the flames. Many of the officers reported experiencing shortness of breath and stinging eyes despite wearing masks.
Also read: Fire in Tambora, 66 Scorched Houses and 1 Dead
The Head of the Operational Section of the North Jakarta Fire and Rescue Service Abdul Wahid stated that a fire broke out around 09:00. Shortly after receiving the report of the fire, they dispatched five fire trucks. However, the fire in the area was quite large so they had to increase the number of personnel and fire trucks.
“At first, we had five units, then we added 15 and another 25 with 140 personnel. We do not yet know the number of houses, residents, or the extent of the damage caused by the fire, as our focus has been on evacuation and extinguishing the fire first. This area is quite densely populated,” said Abdul on Sunday (30/7/2023).”
So far, there have been no reports of casualties. However, it is estimated that hundreds of houses and residents have been affected by the fire. The fairly large fire occurred because many residential buildings were made of wood or semi-permanent materials and the wind was strong enough to quickly spread the fire.
In addition to wooden houses, a large fire was also caused by a warehouse storing easily flammable chemicals. According to information from residents, the warehouse that also caught fire stored thinner or paint solvents.
“All residents have been evacuated and the fire was localized at 11.49am so it did not spread to other houses, that was our priority. Only then did we localize the fire in the warehouse to prevent it from spreading to other buildings. The thick smoke was partially from the warehouse,” said Abdul.
The fire around RW 003 on Sunday morning was not the first time it occurred. Nanda Irwan (22) stated that at least five fires had occurred before. This time’s fire was the largest. Most of the houses in RW 003 are made of wood.
From the several fires, not only did they make Nanda scared and traumatized, but they also caused significant material losses.
“Previously, a fire occurred and both the house and its rented house were burned down. The rental house has been rebuilt three times and each time costing around Rp 250 million but still ends up burned down. The owner wonders why the area is prone to fire incidents. This has happened five times already,” he said.
Although she suffered losses, Nanda is grateful that her family is safe from the fire incident. Nanda and some residents suspected that the fire started from one of the houses whose owner forgot to turn off the stove.
“The fire was already big. He seemed to have informed the residents late. He said he forgot to turn off the stove and the fire had already spread, it was quite big. Some residents quickly tried to extinguish the fire, but it quickly grew and reached other houses. In the end, they had to save themselves,” he said.
Another resident who became a victim is Sofian Cacan (29). He sat quietly at the guard post with red eyes, and his breathing was also interrupted. He still felt pain because a wooden beam fell on his back.
His face looked confused because the items he managed to save were missing. “I have a television, letters and other household items with me. That stuff can be saved. Meanwhile, I failed to bring the savings. Well, I kept the goods in front of the gate of the resident’s house. I stay a while looking for my sister. There’s no turning back anymore,” said Cacan, who has been living on contract in that area since October 2022.
The 70-door rental place where Cacan, his wife, and his brother lived, is now in ruins. He doesn’t know where to live in the future because he no longer has any savings. “Tonight, I don’t even know where to sleep,” he continued.
Cacan and other fire victims hope that the government can quickly provide assistance and give housing to affected residents.
Also read: It’s Not Easy to Overcome Fires in Jakarta
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