Sunday, June 13, 2010

Old Shop Houses Gutted By Fire In Pasir Mas

The picture below was taken on 7th June 2008 and when I posted it in my blog, Tommy Yew said he love these prewar buildings as they were made of wood and have their own soul. Well last night, these shop houses were gutted by fire and they are no more there. They were a row of shops selling groceries, gold, opticals and a kopitiam.

In front of the corner shop is where traditional medicine paddlers performs to sell their products. After this, they may have to find another site to carry on as they may become out of bound to them due to danger and later maybe to give way for reconstruction work.
This picture shows us what remains.

On the night of the 12th June I pass by the area at 8.00 PM on the way to my sister's house for dinner. A while later while sitting down for dinner a part of the town had a blackout and we had to carry on the dinner with lights from the candles. Lights only came on at about 9.30 PM. By then we had finished dinner and by 10 PM we drove by again to return home. Nothing happened yet by then.
It was only the next morning that a friendly shopkeeper in town told me about the fire. So I went home to take my camera.

The above picture has the backdrop of The banguanan Serangkai Mas. This building escaped being gutted. In the olden days the building was a busy market and was gutted down by fire. A new modern market was rebuilt on the site but again it was gutted by fire and the final rebuilding based on the same basic foundation and structure, the building was converted into shopping lots and no more a market.

This brick wall with graffiti left intact is what remains of the kopitiam. The backdrop is against a block of concrete building belonging to a former classmate of mine by the name of Mr. Lee Kew Pee.
He has just added the Pana Shop adding to the list of many electronic brand names he has in his stable. The fire spread to the upper floors of his shops through air wells located at the back of the buildings. The swiflets being reared on the top floor must have perished in the fire.
Only the lowest floors were left intact but damage due to the fire brigades hoses may affect some of them.

Till noon, the firemen were still seen monitoring the situation.
It seemed that a worker who lives on the upper floor of one of the shoplots may have used candles to lit up her place when the blackout happened. It maybe the candle was the cause of the fire. Anyway the lady who lives alone on the upper floor managed to jump down with some cuts on her head and some dislocated joints. Anyway these are mere speculations.
Being able to survive such a fire is definitely a lucky thing for her.

Here we can see Mr Lee pensively looking at his worker sweeping the water and dirt from the floor. He is waiting for the adjusters to come and make the official assessment as to his loss which will be covered by his insurers. Only his loss of business till he can reopen his shops for business again will be his actual loss.
Thank God no one perished in this fire.

22 comments:

Gigi said...

Thank you for the pictures and commentary. One of the shophouses was where my grandfather had his coffee shop and my father grew up there. Sad to see.

glassman said...

Did you not smell anything about the fire?

Actualy I myself did not realise we still have wooden shop houses in Malaysia, being brought in Jitra where most shops lining Jalan Ibrahim(Jitra's main thoroughfare) were concrete buildings accept for some wooden shops in front of the wooden cinema. I found double stories wooden shop on the outskirts of Muar back in the late 70s. I don't think they are there anymore.

~Covert_Operations'78~ said...

Gaaaah! What a tragic and unfortunate thing to happen! All those buildings have so much charm and character! It breaks my heart each time I see any one of them destroyed, whether on purpose or not. I am thankful there are no casualties, but I am sad that the buildings were the ultimate sacrifice. I used to love to drive around places like Banting, Jugra, Kuala Terengganu and Kuala Kubu Bharu just to look at the buildings.

Pak Zawi said...

Gigi, yes the kopitiam is popular as it was the only kopitiam where you can have nasi kapit satay for breakfast.

Pak Zawi said...

glassman,
I don't want to speculate anything but I guess the flame started from the candles used during the blackout.
Not many wooden shop houses will be left as the wood used is started to rot. Soon all the wooden shop houses in Pasir Mas will be rebuilt with concrete ones.

Pak Zawi said...

Ee Lynn,
I sahre your feeling for old wooden buildings. I will always take photographs of such buildings whenever I see them. On my way to Mt Kinabalu I did manage to capture some of them in Tamparuli before fire gutted them sometime ago.

Pat said...

I, too, love wooden buildings. Old or new, they have a warm, cozy charm seldom rivaled by brick and concrete.

How sad to hear of these old treasures going up in flames.

I must confess to immediately jumping to a 'bad' conclusion: was it done on purpose?

And the poor owner of the shop on the ground floor. The flames gave him a miss - luckily - but he was drenched by water - not lucky at all!

Pak Zawi said...

Pat,
Not many of the good wooden ones remain standing as not many of the owners live in those shops anymore. most have houses elsewhere. So the rot in set faster than normal especially due to leaking roof.
I doubt that it was intended as the electrical blackout that preceded the fire (which is a rarity nowadays) may have made the sole occupant use candles to lit up her place. When lights came on later she may have forgotten about the candles and that maybe the cause.

AWANG said...

Sad to hear this..I always love to see old wooden shop house.

Pak Zawi said...

Awang,
Many people shared your views. We inherited many beautiful railway stations made of wood from the British including the one in Pasir Mas only to lose them all due to poor maintainance. The one gutted by fire was unavoidable but the railway stations was something else.

Tommy Yewfigure said...

Really really sad, but that's life, such incidents do happen. We should be thankful nobody got hurt.
Tommy

Pak Zawi said...

Tommy,
You r right. There is nothing much anyone could do about it. There is no way to rebuild another wooden building as the available timber nowadays aren't of the quality they used to be.

Temuk said...

Salam Pak Zawi
Old pre-war buildings were erected using very high quality wood - kayu lama, kayu tua, or kayu dulu-dulu! Definitely not the same as kayu baru, kayu muda or kayu sekarang. Those old shop houses, if given a new coating, would look fabulous. Sayang betul dah jadi arang & abu!

Pak Zawi said...

Temuk,
Benar sekali. kayu yang ada sekarang walaupun dari jenis cengal adalah tak cukup matang justeru tidak kukuh. Jika amalan pencegahan serangan musuh seperti anai-anai dan mengecat secara berkala tidak dilaksanakan, pemburukan akan berlaku dalam sekejap masa. kebanyakan bangunan ini mulai runtuh apabila berlaku kebocoran pada atap.

CW said...

I woud like to echo Gigi's sentiments in thanking you for the photos and commentary. Much like Gigi, my grandfather also had his coffee shop in one of the shophouses there - it was the old kopitiam that closed down a few years ago, immediately adjacent to the alleyway next to the market. My mother grew up there, and I have fond memories from my childhood visiting my grandparents there.

For me, this is especially more poignant as I left Kota Bharu at a very young age to move abroad to the US. I am now in my 30's, and since leaving the States, I have moved to Singapore, then on to New Zealand, then to the UK, and most recently to Australia, where I am currently based. But the one constant, regardless of the country I was living in at the time, was whenever I went back to Malaysia to visit relatives was the trip to Pasir Mas to my grandfather's kopitiam. My thoughts are with the people that have been affected by this tragedy, and I am glad that no one was seriously hurt or injured.

Pak Zawi said...

CW,
The coffee shop that was gutted must have been your grand father's as it was the only one there. The graffiti was on it's wall. I can feel how you feel as from now onward it won't be there anymore for you to visit and reminisce about your childhood days.
I am so happy that you managed to know about this incident.

Adi Atsauri said...

Nostalgia Adi membeli biskut Tat Nenas di kedai abe Lah (T Biran) sudah menjadi sejarah.
Sayangnya..

Pak Zawi said...

Adi,
Depan kedai itu adalah tempat dimana saya semasa kecil dahulu menonton pelbagai persembahan oleh mereka yang menjual ubat. itu sahaja la persembahan percuma.
Satu demi satu kedai lama dari kayu akan lenyap di Pasir Mas.

Che Kem said...

saya sering disuruh Mek (mak saya) untuk membeli susu utk adik atau barang runcit di Teh Beran. Sekarang ianya lenyap.

Thanks Pak Zawi atas cerita ini.

Pak Zawi said...

Che Kem,
Semuanya tinggal kenangan kini.
Mungkin diatasnya akan dibangunkan sebuah kedai yang lebih kedai runcit yang lebih selesa untuk pelanggan walaupun menjual barangan yang sama seperti dulu.

chiabh said...

hi zawi...

nice to read your blog again... sorry that i didn't visit it for sometime... of course, tamparuli is always my pit stop for a good local breakfast whenever i go to the kinabalu national park... i do also have some photos of the wooden shophouses and the hanging bridge in tamparuli... there are still many small towns/villages in malaysia where such wooden houses and shophouses are still intact...

~chia

Pak Zawi said...

Chia,
You seem to have have an eye for such beautiful wooden buildings too. Hopefully those the remain will be looked after well as there wont be any new wooden buildings being built. Wood available nowadays aren't the lasting kind anymore as our forest couldn't mature enough due to over logging. Our future generation will not see wooden buildings anymore during their time.