A pre-dawn fire today razed to the ground the entire town of Machan comprising 10 units of double-storey coffee and
A man in his 70s suffered burns when he tried to save his belongings in the 2.40 am fire, community leader Kapitan Leong Khing Hee said.
Machan, which is about 20 minutes drive from Kanowit, is at the heart of an oil palm growing area in the district.
Leong said the residents of the town, assisted by their Iban neighbours, faced great difficulty in fighting the blaze and trying to save the shops, which are more than 50 years old.
“We were greatly hampered by the low water pressure due to the current dry season. We do not have suitable pumps to draw water from the nearby Machan river,” he said.
Leong said the injured man had been admitted to the Kanowit district hospital.
An officer of the Kanowit Fire and Rescue Department, Douglas Graji, said his office received a call about the fire at 3.14 am.
“Fourteen of us (firemen) immediately rushed to the scene. We were later joined by 10 fire-fighters from Sibu. We managed to bring the fire under control 30 minutes later,” he said.
Machan state assemblyman Gramong Juna, who is assistant minister of rural development, is scheduled to visit the town later today.