10 January, 2009
A small fire in a store room at the Low-Cost Carrier Terminal (LCCT) here saw more than 5,000 passengers booked on 20 domestic and international flights stranded for at least two hours.
The 11.15am fire, believed to have been caused by a spark from welding works being carried out on the upper floor of the store, resulted in thick smoke billowing into the departure terminal caused by papers and plastics stored inside the store room.
Quick action by authorities concerned saw all passengers and staff working at the terminal evacuated to safety in an orderly manner without any untoward incident.
Malaysia Airport Holdings Bhd Senior General Manager Datuk Azmi Murad said airport workers put out the fire in less than five minutes and everyone was evacuated to ensure their safety.
“The terminal was closed for about two hours before normal operations resumed,” he said.
Azmi said the fire alarm system in the affected area had been isolated due to the works being carried out to expand the terminal which was expected to take at least two months to complete.
He said the airport operator was now awaiting the fire department’s report on the incident.
AirAsia group chief executive officer Datuk Seri Tony Fernandes, who was at the scene, expressed his frustration over the incident, but was relieved that everything was back to normal within a couple of hours.
“About 200 flights were scheduled to take off yesterday but due to the incident more than 20 flights had to be delayed. There was no cancellation at all although each flight was delayed for between two and three hours.”
Passenger Kevin Wong, who was waiting to board a flight to China, said he was having breakfast at the departure hall when he smelt the smoke.
“At first I thought it was nothing but a few seconds later I saw thick black smoke billowing from under a tarpaulin where some renovation works was taking place.”
“I immediately stood up and saw everyone being evacuated from the building to safety,” he said, adding that he had to call up his clients in China and postponed his meeting as well as cancel his room reservation there.