Maungdaw, Arakan State:
A devastating fire broke out in Kular Bill village in Maungdaw Township on February 17, at about 11 pm gutting nine houses, said a local schoolteacher who did not want to be named.
No apparent cause of the fire has yet been ascertained. When the fire broke out all the villagers were sleeping inside their houses because the Nasaka (Burma's border security force) arrest villagers who are found outside their houses after 10 pm.
The fire rapidly engulfed the entire premises. There were no fire engines to extinguish the fire. However, 62 hours later the fire brigade is preparing to go to the spot. The villagers do not know the reason why the fire brigade is so many hours late.
After one of the houses caught fire, villagers on hearing the noise and seeing smoke, rushed to the spot to put out the fire, but the Nasaka of the Kular Bill camp barred them from going to the spot for unknown reasons. Nine houses were burnt to ashes.
There was no loss of human lives. However, six cattle were killed in the fire. Villagers lost their valuables including rice, clothes among others, said a local villager.
The fire was controlled automatically after the nine houses were gutted by morning. The adjacent houses were affected by some flying sparks from the houses that were burning.
The villagers who lost their houses in the fire went into hiding for fear of police arrest. The estimated loss from the fire could not be immediately confirmed, according to a local elder.