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Jakarta Post

Fires raise concerns on '€˜death trap'€™ homes

  • The Jakarta Post

    The Jakarta Post

Jakarta   /   Fri, October 4, 2013   /  09:56 am
Fires raise concerns on '€˜death trap'€™ homes Mighty burn: Firefighters struggle to extinguish a fire that engulfs a plastic factory in Jelambar, West Jakarta, on Thursday. The fire destroyed the plant along with dozens of houses in the neighborhood. (Antara/Zabur Karuru) (Antara/Zabur Karuru)

Mighty burn: Firefighters struggle to extinguish a fire that engulfs a plastic factory in Jelambar, West Jakarta, on Thursday. The fire destroyed the plant along with dozens of houses in the neighborhood. (Antara/Zabur Karuru)

A recent number of fires have raised home safety concerns in the capital.

Faulty wires and the use of iron trellises on doors and windows have turned houses in densely populated neighborhoods into death traps.

The Jakarta administration is currently evaluating the installment of iron trellises in houses and shophouses as they prevent residents from being able to escape in emergency situations.

Last Saturday, a fire caused by a gas leak burned down a two-story house and killed a family of four that was trapped inside the house fortified with iron trellises.

Two weeks ago, four people died and one baby went missing when a shophouse burned to the ground in North Kemang, South Jakarta, as they were unable to escape through the barred doors, the building'€™s only exit route.

The latest fire took place on Thursday morning at plastic factory PT Singa Berlian in Jelambar Baru, Grogol, West Jakarta.

The West Jakarta Fire Department deployed 26 fire trucks to extinguish the fire, as reported by tempo.co. According to a worker at the factory, Sutrisno, 25, a short circuit caused the fire.

The incident left three people injured and displaced 1,400 people as the fire spread to the surrounding neighborhood and Riyadhul Mu'€™minin Islamic boarding school, according to Grogol Petamburan vice district head Mujianto.

A resident, Nurjanah, 39, believed that there was a baby inside one of the 104 burned-down houses. '€œThe baby was sleeping when Mak Patimah [the baby'€™s grandmother] was taking her relative to the doctor,'€ said Nurjanah.

A short circuit also sparked a fire that destroyed 1,325 houses and left 5,300 people homeless in Kelapa Gading, North Jakarta on Tuesday. There were no fatalities in the incident.

'€œPeople should stop stacking plugs. [They also] should check on the installation to see whether the connection is tight or loose,'€ Jakarta Fire Fighter Agency head Subejo said on Thursday, as quoted
by kompas.com.

Jakarta Deputy Governor Basuki '€œAhok'€ Tjahaja Purnama had asked state electricity firm PT PLN to not provide electricity for illegal buildings to prevent fires.

'€œIf there'€™s no construction permit [IMB], don'€™t give [the residents] electricity,'€ Ahok said recently.

Data from the Jakarta Fire Fighter Agency said that over 712 fires occurred in Jakarta from January to September 2013, or two a day.

According to figures, West Jakarta suffered the most with 199 cases, followed by East Jakarta with 155 cases, South Jakarta with 151 cases, North Jakarta with 109 cases, and Central Jakarta with 97 cases. Total losses amounted to Rp 124 billion (US$10.8 million), a decrease from last year'€™s losses of Rp 290 billion.

Meanwhile, as of Thursday evening, most of the Kelapa Gading fire victims refused to stay at a shelter that was provided by the city administration, as they were '€œguarding'€ their destroyed houses.

It has also been reported that the 5-hectare plot of land where the houses had been built was privately owned land.

'€œI received a report that the land is privately owned, but after running a check, it turns out that the land is a green open space (RTH),'€ said Governor Joko '€œJokowi'€ Widodo on Thursday. (nai)

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