Jakarta in flames: It’s
five-fire Friday

Fires raged in five different locations across Jakarta on Friday, burning down more than 100 homes, city fire agency chief Paimin Napitupulu said.

Most of the fires were caused by electrical short circuits, the official said.

Fire swept through a densely populated area in Tanah Sereal subdistrict in Tambora, West Jakarta, destroying at least 66 houses and one mosque. The West Jakarta Fire Agency deployed 37 fire trucks to extinguish the fire, which started around 3:45 a.m. The fire was out by 5:45 a.m. One person is reported to have died due to heart failure following the fire.

The blaze has forced nearly 300 people from 142 families into a refugee camp established by the social agency and in two mosques near the scene.

An hour before the Tambora blaze, flames engulfed five houses in Tegal Alur, West Jakarta.

In Central Jakarta, flames razed 30 houses in Kramat and the blazer was only extinguished after an hour with the help of 30 fire trucks.

Twelve houses inhabited by 16 families on Jl. Bangka in Mampang burned down just before noon as did a house in Kebayoran Lama, both in South Jakarta.

These fires follow two conflagrations earlier this week. One destroyed 150 houses in a carpentry area at Pondok Bambu, East Jakarta, on Tuesday while another razed 300 stilt houses in Kapuk Muara, North Jakarta, on Wednesday. More than 400 families have been affected by both fires.

The Jakarta Police released a data on Thursday showing that 66 fires took place between July 21 and Aug. 21. The data shows that 35 of the fires were caused by electrical problems.

Paimin said that dry season and carelessness were the main factors leading to widespread blazes engulfing Jakarta recently.

“Most of the fires broke out in densely populated areas where electricity theft is common. The fires took place in more or less uninhabited areas, with tenants on the Idul Fitri exodus,” he told The Jakarta Post over the phone.

With flames rampant, Jakarta Governor Fauzi Bowo said that the administration would cooperate with the state-owned electricity company PT PLN to introduce safe ways of using electricity. “Fires are rampant due to low understanding and discipline of people in the city on using electricity in a safe way,” he said on Friday. (aml)

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