Around 11.30 pm on Aug 24 we were at Brickfields, Kuala Lumpur.
The night was clear and as usual business was busy at Little India till about 00:50 am when we saw a small explosion on the Federal Highway right in front of the Kuan Cheng (C) School.
There were sparks in the middle of the road where the streetlight poles were located. A few times the sparks came on and then the ground caught fire very fast.
The fire was not that big but due to the sparks we thought that it could cause more damage and even accidents on the Federal Highway.
We decided to call 999 for help which is the General Emergency number as everyone knows.
The first and second call was made at 00:55am but the call was disconnected.
Then we made the third call at 00:57am and the emergency call centre operator attended to our call.
We explained that there was a fire near the Kuan Cheng school on the Federal Highway and it was getting bigger.
The operator at 999 was very calm and answered the call professionally, however, he did not know where the Federal Highway was. He kept repeating the question a few times requesting for the location of the fire.
We explained to him all the possible landmarks available until we realised that he didn't know where Federal Highway was.
Then we told that it is "Lebuhraya Persekutuan dari Kg Attap menghala ke Mid Valley", and then only it struck him what was the Federal Highway.
The operator then said that he would connect us to TNB. Question here is why TNB when it was the Fire Department to attend to that call?
We told the operator that it was a short circuit and that the Fire Dept would need to attend to the situation urgently to avoid any disaster.
We also told the operator we understood his answer but the place was already on fire and there were possibilities that the trees would burn. There was no response from the 999 operator and the call was diverted to TNB.
The TNB call centre then answered the call and repeated the same questions all over again and we had to go thru the same process of answering them the same way.
They also didn't know the meaning of Federal Highway, but after we told them it was the Lebuhraya Persekutuan then they said they would be there right away together with the fire department.
We waited for approximately 30 minutes but there was no sign of TNB or Fire Department personnel arriving at the scene. So we decided to call 999 again.
The 4th call was made at 1:26 am. I told him that we called in earlier and reported a fire at the Lebuhraya Persekutuan. The 999 operator said that he had already informed the fire department and TNB.
I asked them why it was taking so long and by the time they arrived, there was a possibility for the fire to burn down the trees and cause accidents on the highway.
The operator said he was not sure, anyway he connected us to the fire department.
This time around the fire department answered and said that it was not their duty and they would contact TNB to attend to the call.
I told the fire department operator, "It's okay you don't have to come, I think the fire will go off before you people arrive at this location based on your slow response."
As I was questioning him regarding why there was no response as already more then 30 minutes, he repeatedly kept saying "Ya terima kasih" for 10 or 20 times and then he hung up.
He was not bothered about what I had to say. So we continued waiting till about 2am and still it was a no show by both the departments.
After a while, there was a call back to our phone from a private number saying that they were from TNB and asking us what was the situation there.
We told them the wind and the speeding cars had already put the fire off, so they didn't have to come. We advised this guy it was better just stay in the office and log on to your Facebook and be tagged.
Then, the TNB personnel said sorry and requested us to inform DBKL because the street lights came under its preview.
At this junction, "What else can I say" than to console myself that these are the government departments whom the federal government has to depend on in the event of a fire or an emergency situation.
If this is attitude of these departments, then the public who are depending on these departments in an emergency situation would die.
My question to 999 is: What if the fire burned down a few trees on the Federal Highway and spread to the Kuen Cheng school?
Since, there was no response from both these department to assist us.
How if there is a house burning with some people trapped in it?
If this is going to be their attitude, why do we need their services?
We finally left the location at about 3am and with neither the fire department or TNB or DBKL showing up.