Fire leaves 800 people homeless in Supyitsan village of Magwe township

15 Feb 2011, mizzima news,

Chiang Mai (Mizzima) – A fire in Supyitsan village in Magwe Township on Saturday has destroyed 184 homes left more than 800 people homeless, according to local fire officials.

Fire brigades from Magwe and Taungdwingyi townships said that the extensive damage was caused by the time it took to travel the 40 miles or more to the village. There are more than 270 homes in the village.

‘The journey to the village was too far and there was a water shortage there’, said a Magwe Division fire official. ‘We had to shuttle the water between the reservoir and the burning houses so it was a difficult fire. This is the usual experience for us in firefighting in villages a far distance from major towns’.

Local villagers and people from nearby villages tried to extinguish the fire with buckets of water, sand bags and other fire fighting tools, said local villagers.

‘The fire tenders coming from the towns came late’, said a resident. ‘It took at least three hours. The water stored in their fire engines was emptied after only a few minutes and then they had to go and carry water again.

He said that without the villagers’ efforts the entire village would have burned down. Many villagers lost their entire homes and tools for working farms, in addition to some crops.

Township and ward level authorities are preparing to open a relief camp for more than 800 fire victims. Villagers from nearby villages have donated food parcels.

According to official statistics, 72 fires were reported across the country in January, effecting 816 people at a total cost of 5 million kyat (US$ 5,860). A total of 162 houses were damaged, five people killed and 12 injured. Fifty-one fires were due to negligence. Twenty-six fires were in rural areas.

A total of 714 fires broke out last year through November, of which 308 were due to negligence. In 2009, there were a total of 856 fires out of which 422 were due to negligence.

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