KINABATANGAN -Tongod district needs a volunteer fire and rescue team, according to a local leader.
Kuamut assemblyman Datuk Masiung Banah noted that the Kinabatangan Fire and Rescue Station was located a long distance from Tongod and thus hindered firefighters from reaching the scene on time to prevent the fire from spreading.
He cited the incident at the Sekolah Kebangsaan Pekan Tongod hostel on Monday in which fire personnel took two hours to reach the location.
To this end, a local volunteer fire and rescue team could be of great help particularly in containing the amount of damage caused by fire, he said.
On Tuesday, Masiuh donated a set of 100 mattresses, pillows and blankets to the SK Pekan Tongod pupils.
Masiung, who is also Sabah Youth and Sports Assistant Minister, said the assistance was to help ease burden of the pupils.
“At the same time, two committees will be set up to coordinate assistance for the pupils and (the residents of) houses involved in the fire,” he said here today.
Masiung said the dedicated committee to help the pupils would be coordinated by Tongod/Telupid education officer, Mahanin Othman while the Social Welfare Department would coordinate the other committee for the affected residents.
Meanwhile, the old hostel of Sekolah Menengah Kebangsaan Tongod will be used to provide temporary accommodation for the 61 pupils of SK Pekan Tongod, said Sabah Education Department deputy director Datuk Dr Mohd Kassim Mohd Ibrahim.
He said the hostel was not used by SMK Tongod and was located besides SK Pekan Tongod.
He said the move would enable 61 pupils, comprising 32 boys and 29 girls, of SK Pekan Tongod to stay in the hostel.
“This is a short-term measure to enable the pupils continue schooling,” he said after a briefing on the incident by Tongod and Telupid district officer, Mahanin Othman at SMK Tongod Tuesday.
He said for the long term, the SK Pekan Tongod hostel would be rebuilt for pupils who lived in the interior of Tongod district.
Mohd Kassim said what was important was that all pupils in the hostel were safe.
Earlier, Mahanin in his briefing said during the fire, all pupils were at the hostel dining hall.
He said the fire began from the boy’s hostel believed to be due to a short circuit and the flame spread rapidly.