Dozens of houses were destroyed leaving 116 people homeless as a fire raged through the Palmeriam subdistrict in East Jakarta on Friday.
According to Jakarta Post, nearly 30 buildings, occupied by 44 families, were gutted by the fire that raged from midnight until 4am. The victims are currently sheltered at a student dormitory on Jl. Bunga, Palmeriam. Around 20 nearby cafes were also destroyed in the fire.
A victim, identified as Suwarti, reportedly said that the fire broke out in a nearby cafe and started spreading. Several residents shouted and warned people about the fire who were asleep in the building.
"Most of people could only save important possessions before running out from their houses as the fire spread quickly," said Suwarti, the Post said.
Suwarti was one of the residents living in neighbourhood unit (RT) 05/community unit (RW) 09 of the subdistrict.
Another eyewitness said that the cafe caught fire from a burning candle. "The fire came from the café and then spread to the residential areas," the witness said.
The resident, who refused to give his identity, said that the fire brigade was late to arrive. According to him, prompt action would have saved many houses.
Jakarta Social agency, accompanied by neighbouring residents, is reportedly carrying out relief operation. Daily requirements like food packets and mattresses are distributed among the victims, according to Jakarta Post.