Fire guts Jonker Walk building
A MIDNIGHT fire gutted a century-old heritage building in Malacca's famous Jonker Walk.
The single-storey building, which housed a business selling tarts and pastries, went up in smoke at about 11.30pm on Friday, when the street was closed to traffic and filled with traders and visitors.
All stocks and items in the building could not be salvaged as the shop was closed at the time of the fire.
The couple who operated the pastry business were distraught, and they declined to be interviewed by the press.
Mr Kenny Siang - who had been renting the building from its owner, Eng Choon Association, for the past six years and in turn leased it to the couple - said he was shocked and that he did not know how the fire started.
The 48-year-old said he had renewed all the electrical wiring and cables inside the building.
Malacca Fire and Rescue Department director Zainuddin Md Alip, who led the fire-extinguishing operation, said the fire engines initially had problems reaching the area as it was too crowded.
"However, the people there gave their full cooperation when told to give way," he said, adding that his men managed to control the fire within nine minutes.
He said the cause of the fire and the estimated losses as a result were still being investigated and that the building's interior was totally destroyed.
Kota Laksamana assemblyman Lai Keun Ban, who was at the scene, said the underground fire hydrant was not marked and made the firemen's job even harder.
Jonker Walk is a popular tourist destination lined with Peranakan shophouses.
The weekend night market has been in operation since 2000, and an announcement last year that it would be closed was met with protests. The state government later said it was a misunderstanding.
THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK