Fire and Rescue Services Department director-general Hamdan Wahid has denied that clearance was given for barbed and razor wires to be set up along a public housing staircase at Block C, PPR Kampung Baru Air Panas, Kuala Lumpur.
“Who gave an approval? Bomba never gave any approval.
“Blocking any means of escape for the purposes of an emergency in any premises is against fire safety regulations and the Uniform Building By-Laws,” said Hamdan when contacted yesterday.
“We were never consulted on placing barbed wire at an escape route in that manner. It would be dangerous for residents in the event of a fire,” he told Malaysiakini.
Hamdan was asked for comments on a statement by Wangsa Maju district police chief Ashari Abu Samah who claimed Fire Department representatives were present during a coordinating meeting that discussed and agreed to the setting-up of the barbed wires.
Ashari said the wires were placed to restrict residents’ movements as only Block C of the low-cost housing unit was placed under an enhanced MCO to control a surge in Covid-19 cases there.
Ashari’s statement followed initial concerns raised after several photographs taken by national news agency Bernama and shared on social media showed razor wires obstructing access to a fire extinguisher mounted on a wall.
Hamdan further said immediate actions were taken to remove the barbed wires from along the staircase.
“Kuala Lumpur Fire and Rescue Services Department director went to monitor the area with personnel from the Taman Melawati station,” he added.
Architect Azizul Azwar Abdul Aziz yesterday explained that the number of staircases and their positions in a building had been planned to ensure all residents would be able to escape in the event of a fire.
While police had initially pointed to other unobstructed stairs in the same block as emergency exits, Azizul said it could lead to a disrupted escape “flow” and bottleneck in the event of an emergency.
On Twitter, Federal Territories Minister Annuar Musa said no barbed wires should be erected at staircases of PPR flats under an enhanced MCO in Kuala Lumpur. – Malaysiakini