Lenny Tristia Tambun
More than 400 homes were heavily damaged Monday evening in a blaze in Karet Tengsin, Central Jakarta, that was reportedly sparked by an exploding mobile phone, an official said.
“The fire was caused by a mobile phone that exploded while it was being charged,” Paimin Napitupulu, head of Jakarta Fire and Disaster Mitigation Agency said. “It caused a short circuit and the sparks ignited the blaze, which was spread by gas and strong winds. The house was made of wood and was located in the middle of the neighborhood, so the flames spread quickly.”
Firefighters began battling the difficult blaze with local residents at 7:35 Monday evening. The fire was under control by 1:25 Tuesday morning after some forty fire trucks arrived on the scene.
“Our firefighters found it difficult to combat the fire because of poor access to the location,” Paimin said.
As many as 1,665 people were left homeless by the blaze, which burned through some 405 homes and 200 businesses. Some residents fainted after seeing their home ablaze.
The Jakarta Social Agency and the Indonesian Red Cross Jakarta chapter were on location Monday helping the victims.
The owner of the mobile phone was taken into protective custody by police, Paimin said.
“He was not detained, just secured in anticipation of street justice,” he said.