Tuesday, 3 January 2012

House of Joy, Puchong Orphans are homeless again

For the past six years, it has been home to orphans as well as children from poor and broken families.

But The House of Joy, in Puchong Petaling Jaya, was razed after fire gutted the two-storey building.

The disaster left about 35 underprivileged children homeless and in tears, The Star reported.

The House of Joy chairman Pastor Tang Chee Sing said there were five caretakers and 19 children, aged between six and 12, at the home when the fire started.

"The rest of the children were out on training and attending workshops," he told the Malaysian daily.

The fire is believed to have started in the dormitory on the second storey on Friday, New Straits Times reported.

Firefighters, who arrived at the scene nine minutes after receiving a distress call at 10.50am, found the entire second storey in flames.

The fire was brought under control within 20 minutes.

There were no casualties, the report stated.

Selangor Fire and Rescue Department assistant director Anuar Harun told The New Straits Times that preliminary investigations show that the fire may have been caused by a short circuit.

He said: "The cook heard an explosion upstairs and went to inspect. He found the fire raging in a room and used a fire extinguisher to try to put out the flames.

"He called on the other caretakers to evacuate the children."

One of the caretakers, Mr Moses Chat, 68, said he and four other people were preparing lunch when he heard small explosions coming from the dormitory.

He added: "When I checked, we saw sparks coming out from one of the power sockets."

Pastor Tang said a neighbour offered food and shelter for the children while the firefighters battled the flames.

The children will be temporarily housed at a multi-purpose hall while the management looks for another house.

Pastor Tang said: "We were in the midst of raising RM2 million (S$820,000) to build a new boys' home and had planned to move out after Chinese New Year.

"But this fire has thrown our plans out the window."

This article was first published in The New Paper.

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