PUTRAJAYA – The fire which broke out at the Employees Provident Fund (EPF) building in Jalan Gasing, Petaling Jaya was an accidental fire and there was no foul play or sabotage in the incident, said Urban Well-being, Housing and Local Government Minister Tan Sri Noh Omar.
He said the fire occurred during the External Insulation Finishes System or EIFS (waterproofing) repair works using “granule bitumen membrane roll” which were carried out on the first floor of the building’s rear foyer.
Noh added the waterproofing membrane needed to be melted first, using single-burner flame gun method and liquefied petroleum gas (LPG), in order to allow the material to stick to the concrete floor.
“The contractor was not aware that the cladding (covering or coating on a structure) for the building from the EIFS-type was made of combustible materials, namely polystyrene foam, when carrying out the melting method.
“The EPF building had gone through renovations involving the installation of the cladding in 2003,” he told a press conference at his office here today.
Commenting further, Noh said the Fire and Rescue Department received a distress call at 11.52am and the firefighters arrived at the scene about five minutes later.
The firemen took about 30 minutes to put out the blaze and 527 employees at the building were evacuated, he said.
Noh explained that the fire involved five per cent of the entire building, namely on the left and rear portion of the building, as well as only a small area on the sixth floor.
Based on the impact and testimonies of witnesses, the minister said the blaze started on the left side of the building’s rear foyer on the first floor.
“The source of flames that triggered the fire came from the LPG, which was used on the single-burner flame gun, and was exposed to the cladding installed outside the (building) wall. Subsequently, the fire spread rapidly on the cladding that was made of polystyrene foam,” said Noh. – BERNAMA