KLANG: A fire destroyed the Klang Red Crescent Society headquarters in Jalan Tengku Diauddin yesterday, crippling its ambulance services.
The 1pm fire engulfed the wooden bungalow, rented by the society from KTM Bhd for RM60 a month since 1990, within minutes.
There was little the 20-odd firemen, who were dispatched to the scene onboard three engines, could do to save the building.
The society's honorary secretary, M. Somasuntharam, said volunteers training in the building smelt burning plastic from one of the stores shortly before the fire started.
"They only had time to evacuate the building and had to leave valuable life-saving equipment as well as computers and radios behind."
Fortunately, the volunteers managed to remove eight vehicles, including ambulances, which were parked outside.
Only one vehicle was slightly damaged, while two other unused vehicles, parked behind the bungalow, were destroyed.
Somasuntharam said losses were estimated at RM150,000.
The bungalow, which used to be quarters for train station masters, is strategically located in the centre of the town and the society had previously resisted efforts by authorities to have them move.
"We will not be able to operate our ambulance services effectively if we move too far away. Also our volunteers, who are mostly teenagers, may find it an inconvenience," said Somasuntharam.
He hoped well-wishers would help the society find a solution to its predicament.