Saturday, October 02, 2010

Disappearing Sarikei: Block 5R Shophouse Fire - The aftermath

For those who slept through the disaster, the print versions of the morning newspapers greeted them with front page news of the tongues of fire. A historic block of 6 shops of 15 businesses was reduced into ashes.


Sarikei Fire - 1st Oct 2010
See Hua Daily News, 2 Oct 2010






Sarikei Fire - 1st Oct 2010
Sin Chew Daily News, 2 Oct 2010


All pictures below are from Desmond Chen. The pictures give you a 360 degree view of the charred aftermath from the merciless blaze. Firemen had to make sure that the remaining smouldering debris was extinguished.

 Sarikei - No. 46 Repok Road, 
View from Repok Road

 

Sarikei - L-R: No. 46, 44, 42, 40, 38, 36 Repok Road
View from Repok Road


Sarikei - L-R: No. 44, 42, 40 Repok Road
View from Repok Road


The area is now cordoned off for safety reasons. You can see from the fire yesterday that curious onlookers stayed quite close to the fire. If there were a lot of cooking gas tanks stored inside this block (for example some sundry shops may keep the tanks for sale), it could have been very dangerous. It does not mean that when there's a crowd there watching so close by, it's safe for you to follow the herd.


Sarikei  - the charred five-foot way
Swallows used to nest on the ceilings in the 1950s-1970s

 
 Sarikei - L-R: No. 42 Repok Road
View from Repok Road


Sarikei - No. 46 Repok Road, 
View from Oriental Hotel 


Sarikei - No. 46 Repok Road, 
View from Oriental Hotel

  Sarikei Jalan Masjid Lama, No. 36 Repok Road


 Sarikei Jalan Masjid Lama, No. 36 Repok Road


Sarikei Jalan Masjid Lama, No. 36 Repok Road


 Sarikei - Back lane scenes
View from Jalan Masjid Lama

   Sarikei - Back lane scenes

  Sarikei - Back lane scenes

The rumour that is going around town is that the fire was started by an electric fault but that's just a rumour. The cause of the torching is not for us to speculate. The insurance companies will of course do their due diligence on the actual cause and act accordingly.

All pictures below are from Albert Chua.


   Sarikei - No.46 Repok Road

 Sarikei - No.46 Repok Road

  Sarikei - No.46 Repok Road, Back view
Dragon fruit plants survived the flames


   Sarikei - Back lane scenes
Joss sticks combusted.

 Sarikei Fire Brigade 2010


The casualty of the blaze was a Cantonese fireman. He passed out while helping to put out the fire (cause unknown yet). You may recognise Mr. Yii Yuk Seng from his appearance on the December 2009 Astro AEC episode on Sarikei Chinese migrants. His father was known as Ah Nam and his grandpa was Lon Pak.


Condolences to Mr Yii's family


He was very passionate about the history of Sarikei and Sarawak and was in the midst of writing his Chinese language version of the history of Sarikei. He could be seen approaching old timers of Sarikei for interviews with his stack of notes and asking for old photographs. It's unfortunate that his work may never seen the light of day. Let us offer our condolences to his family.

Now watch this painful video with its poignant music. This was a sad day for Sarikei indeed.


4 comments:

Sim Y said...

Thanks for the details, Daniel. Your blog offers more than the newspaper.

Daniel Yiek said...

More pictures and videos at Sarikeian facebook group.

http://groups.to/sarikeians/

sarikeikia said...

Let me recall the old story of fire occurred in Sarikei’s shop houses.

One of the earliest shop house fire occurred in Sarikei was Tong Aik 通益 No.1 Wharf Rd. Those days in the 1950s Tong Aik stored a lot of rubber sheet at the back potion of the shop and fortunately on that night the firefighter managed to put the fire out without spreading beyond the store.

The next fire in the 1960s was the roll of shop houses in Bank Rd facing the Wharf Terminal 1, The fire started on the top floor of No. 3 Bank Road Ngo Ho 五和號 in the wee hours and upon arriving the firefighters were panic without a proper strategy. I was told the tall Hakka dentist 劉文通 on central road whom had experience with the fire brigade in Kuching during his younger days came to the rescue and gave precise instruction to attack the fire from the roof top and eventually the fire only destroyed the top level of 3 shops. The dentist was a basketball player from early team Flying Saucer (飞碟).

The Next fire was the one that destroyed the supermarket in Cathay Cinema and follow by the fire that destroyed the 3rd block Repok Rd Right. So this time fire destroyed the 5th block Repok Rd Right.

sarikeikia said...

I left out the fire that destroyed the last 3 shops at the last row of shop houses in Central Rd. I think It happened after the fire that destroyed 2R Repok Rd.

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