A fire has razed a furniture warehouse owned by Jakarta gubernatorial candidate Joko Widodo in Solo, the politician’s campaign team said on Friday.
“It’s still not clear where the fire started because suddenly there was thick smoke coming out from the warehouse, and a fire quickly burned the wooden materials,” said Budi Purnomo Karjodihardjo, chairman of Joko’s campaign team, adding that police were still investigating.
Budi said the fire started at around noon on Thursday while employees were resting at the factory, located on a hectare of land in Kartasura, Sukoharjo district.
Furniture that was packed and ready for export to Spain, France and Taiwan next month was destroyed in the flames.
“The losses incurred are estimated at Rp 300 million to Rp 400 million [$32,000 to $42,000],” he said.
He said the warehouse belonged to Joko, popularly known as Jokowi, before he was elected as mayor of Solo, when he gave it over to his family to manage.
Budi added that Jokowi was not aware of the incident because he was visiting Mecca in Saudi Arabia to perform an umrah, or minor pilgrimage, with his family.
Sukoharjo Police said they were still trying to determine a cause of the fire and had already questioned five factory employees.
“We’re still gathering evidence related to the fire incident. We can’t establish the factor that caused the fire at the Rakabu [Sejahtra] furniture warehouse yet,” Andis Arfan Tofani, the subdistrict police chief, said on Friday, referring to the furniture company owned by Jokowi’s family.
Andis said police had investigated the scene of the fire and were waiting for the results of a report by the Central Java Police forensic lab.
“We’re working professionally,” he said. “We’re still gathering data from various sources to determine the cause of the fire.
“But please, don’t link the fire incident at the furniture warehouse with the Jakarta gubernatorial election process just because its owner is running in the race.”
Jokowi was the top vote-getter in the capital’s gubernatorial election earlier this month and will face the incumbent, Fauzi Bowo, in a runoff in September.
Andis said Jokowi’s brother-in-law Andrianto was in charge of managing the furniture warehouse.
Rakabu did not own the warehouse or the land where the fire occurred, he added, but was only leasing it.
He said the cotton warehouse in the same complex was owned by another Jokowi brother-in-law, Yanuar Subakti, who reportedly fainted when his employee informed him of the fire.
Jokowi’s other brother-in-law Anjas Wijanarko confirmed that Rakabu did not own the warehouse but was leasing it.
Anjas said that the warehouse belonged to his brother Andrianto and the cotton warehouse belonged to his younger brother Yanuar.
Anjas confirmed that police had questioned five factory employees regarding the fire.
With additional reporting from Detik.com.