EPF: Sparks during maintenance works likely cause of fire

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PETALING JAYA (Feb 13): The fire which broke out at the Employees Provident Fund (EPF) building here was believed to have been caused by sparks during maintenance work on the first floor on the outside of the building

Fire and Rescue Department deputy director-general (operations) Datuk Soiman Jahid said an inflammable polyfoam was used as cladding for the building structure.

"Based on preliminary checks and investigations, the cladding for the building used inflammable materials and it was not approved by any party.

“The fire began from the first floor (outside) where maintenance work was being carried out. The wind and hot weather also contributed to the spread of the fire," he told reporters at the scene.

He said the fire involved the exterior walls of the building and part of the interior on the sixth floor.

However, Soiman said 527 employees who were in the building were evicted and placed in an open area nearby.

"The fire station received a distress call at 11.52 am and firemen arrived seven minutes later. Operation to douse the flame took about 30 minutes,” he said.

He said it was the first fire incident involving inflammable cladding in the country.

He said any building which used inflammable materials and did not meet stipulated specifications was in breach of the Uniform Building By Law 1984.

Indirectly, the (EPF) building has violated the law,” he said.

As such, Soiman said building owners who had used inflammable materials as cladding for the premises to replace it.

"Normally, inflammable materials and those that did not follow stipulated standard are cheaper and hazardous.

"Therefore, the Fire and Rescue Department will conduct inspection on other buildings and the fire certificate will not be issued until they have replaced the cladding with new ones,” he said.

Meanwhile, Petaling Jaya deputy police chief Supt Ku Mashariman Ku Mahmood confirmed no foul play in the incident.