You are here: RAO Home > Travel > Bhutan > Overview > Information > Trashingang > Fire in Trashigang Search
Bhutan's People
Fires in Bhutan
Bhutan Fire
Trashigang: Wamrong razed to the grounds
Bhutan Information
Bhutan Tourist Destinations
Video Bhutan Videos
previous pageend
Fire in Trashigang, Wamrong razed to the ground
Wamrong wasted : The burning remains of a conflagration that gutted 12 houses in all
Report from October 2009

The row of shops lining the Samdrupjongkhar - Trashigang highway that has defined Wamrong town for decades went up in flames yesterday afternoon, burning to the ground 12 houses in Trashigang dzongkhag's largest fire accident in recent memory.

No one was injured.
The fire comes at a time when the eastern dzongkhags are still reeling under the shock and damage from an earthquake and a windstorm.

12 houses burnt in Trashigang
The fire, which started around noon and was still burning late last evening, is suspected to have started from a house below the main line of shops, triggered by an electric short circuit from a kitchen.

"We saw a woman rushing towards the dungkhag office yelling fire," said the town tshogpa, Kencho Dorji. "It had started to drizzle and people nearby rushed to the spot with water and tried to douse the fire. But the nearby bamboo hut caught on and then it rose like a huge mountain."

Most of the 20 wooden and concrete houses lining the highway are three storied.

People travelling the highway said that they could see the smoke and smell burning rice and dried fish four kilometres away.

The fire destroyed nine shops, including two eateries where the public transport buses stop for lunch and a mill. It has affected 26 families, some losing everything to the fire.

"We tried to subdue the fire with the town's water supply but it didn't work," said the dungpa, Pema Wangdi. "I called higher authorities in Trashigang for help."

Punakha Fire Brigade
Two Dantak water tankers made a major difference to the fire fighting efforts. Captain Shinde, who was on the way to Moshi, returned with 22 workers to Womrong. Two more trucks later joined with syantax tanks filled with water.

Around 2:30 pm, two RBP fire engines arrived from Trashigang town, almost 70 km away with the home minister, MPs, officials from the Gyalpoi Zimpon's office and the dzongkhag officials with relief materials and additional manpower and police.

The fire engines soon ran out of water and had to travel six kilometres to refill. Moving around the town also posed a problem with vehicles not parked properly and salvaged belongings lying on the road drenched in rain.

Moti Ram, a Bhutan telecom employee lost all his belongings. "My brother, who was inside the house, just managed to come out of the house but we couldn't save anything," he said.

Only when the smoke grew dark and thick in volume, residents in the town frantically began to take out their belongings onto the road, helped by the students from the nearby two schools and the few policemen posted in the town. Even the rain did little to contain the flames.

The volunteers and students helped to dismantle a house and prevent the fire from spreading further to the other houses.

Tarpaulin sheets were distributed to those affected the by the fire to cover their things on the road. Families are being fed by the dzongkhag and lodged in the multipurpose hall of the Womrong LSS. UNICEF family kits have also been distributed to them from the relief centre established in Trashigang.

Shopkeeper Dechen Peldon said that she had lost goods worth more than Nu 3 million in the fire. "We couldn't save anything, except for six gas cylinders and some groceries," she said. Only a few days ago she received shoes worth Nu 100,000.

This article was contributed by Tshering Palden, KUENSEL, Bhutan's National Newspaper, 2009
More Information
East-West Highway
Haa: Bhutanese Farms
Bhutan Photo Galleries
Religion in Bhutan
Culture in Bhutan
About Paro and Haa
About Bumthang
About Mongar and Lhuentse
People in Bhutan
Hoentoe in Haa
Photo Galleries
East-West Highway: From Thimphu to Mongar
Mongar - Lhuentse Bumthang
About Bhutan
Lhuentse and Mongar
Trongsa and Zhemgang
Paro and Haa
Southern Bhutan

previous page Bhutan HOME