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JITRA, Feb 8, 2016:

The Chinese New Year (CNY) today was bleak for 12 members of three families when their homes in Taman Mahsuri, Bandar Darulaman, here, were gutted by fire early this morning.

Jitra Fire and Rescue Station operations officer Ishak Ayob Ali said the incident occurred at 1.18am after the families had enjoyed the traditional reunion dinner last night.

“The fire is believed to have started from the middle house and spread to the other two houses on either side.

“The occupants of the middle house had gone to spend the night in a relative’s home at the time when the fire broke out while the families in the other two houses managed to escape before the fire spread,” he told reporters here.

Ishak Ayob said the fire-fighting team found items such as candles and joss-sticks in the middle house which could have triggered the blaze.

He said 35 fire-fighters in nine vehicles managed to put out the fire in 10 minutes after arriving at the scene.

“The cause of the fire and losses are still being ascertained. There was no loss of life or any injury,” he added.

He advised the public not to be complacent during the festive season but be on the alert when using items such as firecrackers and sparklers which could cause fires.

A victim who only wanted to be known as Leong, 37, said he was with his family when they caught smelt smoke and saw it billowing from the middle house.

“We managed to salvage some important things but we are sad as it happened on Chinese New Year’s day,” he said, adding that for now, the family was staying at the home of relatives.

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