The past week saw two major industrial fires affecting Johor Baru and Kuantan separately. Images and videos of the incidents spread quickly on social media.
One of Johor’s Petronas oil and gas facility had an explosion that emitted shock waves felt by Singaporeans in the middle of the night. It took five fire engines and 30 personnel to extinguish the blaze. It was later reported that a gas tank leak was the cause.
The Star Online reports faulty electrical source as the top cause of fires. Energy Commission (EC) of Malaysia reports an average of 58 electrical accident cases happening every year, with half of them resulting in fatalities.
Unfortunately, these cases mostly were the result of electronics negligence, electrical equipment with unauthorised safety features, and poor wiring layout.
Based on the government data, there was a spike of fire cases in 2016. Reports from that year showed over 2,000 cases of open burning as the cause. Categorically, the cases were: 725 small open burning, 589 agriculture land fires, 515 bush fires, 300 forest fires, 70 landfill site fires, 48 construction site fires, and 15 industrial fires.
During that time, the Department of Environment (DOE) only had land surveillance, court action and issuance of compounds as a preventive measure. They claimed all parties are responsible to ensure the safety of their premises. Perhaps other measures should be implemented, while current ones are being enforced.
Also based on the infographic, the average number of fire related cases were calculated to determine the hypothetical number of cases a fire station handles in each of their respective states.
Based on the figures, it is assumed Kedah’s fire-fighters handled more fire cases compared to others, followed closely by Selangor and Melaka respectively. Perhaps this reflects which areas require more fire stations.
As for the fire in Kuantan, reports claim it was not an emergency situation. The steel factory’s safety system was activated due to an abrupt power disruption, causing excess gas to be released into its chimney to prevent pressure build-up. The hazardous gas was supposed to burn up to prevent air pollution.