A private home in North Sumatra, which also operates as a matchstick factory, was reportedly hit by a fire that killed at least 30 people, including children.
According to authorities, the blaze broke out on Friday afternoon. TV footage had shown black smoke coming from the home which is located in the town of Binjai, North Sumatra, which is 70km west of Medan.
“We don’t know what caused the fire but it has been extinguished,” said head of North Sumatra’s disaster agency Riadil Lubis. At least three children lost their lives in the incident. Three people are known to have successfully escaped the fire.
According to Budi Zulkifli, a local resident, an explosion was heard before he left for Friday prayers at the local mosque. “But I don’t know what blew up,” Budi added.
Binjai police chief Nugroho Tri Nuryanto, said a gas canister explosion might have triggered the fire, but the real cause of the problem still remains unknown. The police are still identifying the victims.
While it is not clear why children were on the scene, a survivor identified as Pipit said that the children were simply visiting their parents who were working on the site. As of Saturday 22nd June, the factory’s owners, Burhan, 37, and manager, Lisnawati, 37, have been named as being suspected of negligence.
Source: Channel News Asia
Image: Reuters UK