Andaman blaze: 80% of luxury resort gutted

Resort consumed by 24-hour fire, aided by strong winds, flammable materials

Published on 14 Jan 2021 8:00PM

BY Ian McIntyre

LANGKAWI – The fire at The Andaman Resort, one of the country’s top luxury destinations, consumed up to 80% of the property, made worse by its timber structure and surrounding trees.

Nested within a 150 million-year-old forest, the Andaman with its 186 suites was a postcard getaway property, constructed in the 1990s without any major felling of trees. It was curated to co-exist with the virgin forest.

Veteran naturalist Irshad Mobarak, who has taken many nature trail tours in the area, expressed his dismay, saying that he was informed that 85% of the resort was razed, leaving only the far west wing.

“The lobby is gone and so is the restaurant, but the bar area was spared. It is a most unfortunate incident but a grim reminder on how fragile things can be,” he said.

Irshad is Conservation Officer for The Datai Langkawi Resort, which is located 300m away from The Andaman. The wildlife was mostly spared, but some trees were singed by the embers.

The fire began initially at 5pm and blazed until it was doused by the fire fighters, who worked around the clock for over 24 hours to extinguish it.

The fire was initially put out at around 9pm but it flamed up again around 1am due to the strong winds, causing the firemen to make a U-turn to the site.

Firefighting efforts were hampered by the limited fire hydrants in the area.

Some 39 firefighters were involved but, assisted by volunteers from the resort.

Meanwhile, the property owner Landmarks Bhd refused to offer comment, but its management firm based in Kuala Lumpur, issued a statement on social media that the resort will be temporarily closed pending a full investigation by the resort and the Fire and Rescue Department.

“We are cooperating fully with the authorities,” said a spokeswoman.

She said that it was a tragedy but, fortunately, nobody was injured in the incident.

Veteran travel trade member Eric R. Sinnaya said that this incident serves as a lesson for other properties on the island resort to be careful and to take fire prevention precautions.

Access to fire hydrants as well as fire safety measures must be practiced by all hotels, he said. – The Vibes, January 14, 2021