The world-famous Discovery Shopping Mall in Kuta caught on fire in the early afternoon of Thursday 5th May. The fire is alleged to have started after a man, who is yet to be identified, dumped a cigarette in an ashtray without it being full out.
Huge plumes of black smoke could be seen billowing into the air from across Kuta and Seminyak. The mall caught fire around 1 pm and the flames were not bought under control until 3 pm. According to eyewitnesses, the alarms were sounded by visitors and mall employees who could be seen fleeing the flames shouting ‘fire, fire’. The Discovery Shopping Mall was evacuated and the fire services and police teams were called.
Security staff was the first to work to bring the blaze under control and did so before the fire brigades were able to get to the scene. They used a hydrant pump that was installed within the mall. They also used three handheld fire extinguishers.
According to local news reporters, there were no casualties and no injuries, though the extent of the damage to the building remains to be seen. Although smoke could be seen for miles, the fire itself was reasonably small. The fire was on the rooftop of the fourth floor of the mall. The open space helped to ensure that the flames did not rip through the whole building. Had this fire broken out on the second or third floors the outcome may have been very different.
Police are still investigating the scene but the cause of the fire is most likely a cigarette butt. However, the fourth-floor rooftop was undergoing maintenance work by a construction team. There is a possibility that the fire was started as a result of an electrical short circuit. There were plenty of flammable materials on the building site including wood, plastic piping, and air conditioning insulation.
Videos of the black smoke billowing over Kuta went viral on social media raising much cause for concern. Both locals, business owners, and long-term international residents. Two years ago a huge fire ripped through two hotel buildings in Canggu. On 27th September 2020 a fire, believed to be caused by an electrical issue totally destroyed two hotels causing a reported IDR 1,5 billion in damages.
The Discovery Mall is the biggest shopping mall in Bali and sits at the heart of Kuta in the Badung Regency of the island. It expands over 3.8 hectares and is just steps away from Kuta Beach. Over the years it has become a tourist destination in its own right welcoming millions of visitors every year. The mall hosts 150 brands and has a substantial food hall area.
Many visitors from Australia and New Zealand especially bring an extra suitcase with them on their holiday to Bali just so they can stock up on deals offered on clothing and homeware at The Discovery Mall. In every blog, vlog, and article about things to do in Bali, The Discovery Mall always ranks highly.
Management will be hoping that Thursday’s fire does not put visitors off coming to explore what the mall has to offer. Retail, along with hospitality, was hit hard by the economic impacts of Covid-19. Over the Eid Al-Fitr festival, they would have benefited from the rise in total occupancy and the influx of domestic travelers from across Indonesia.
Hotel occupancy hit 60% over the Eid weekend and Bali-based tour operators and boat transfer companies laid on extra services to ensure that demand was met. In the bounce back from the Covid-19 pandemic and as the G20 Summit in November approaches, authorities and businesses across Bali will be keen to ensure that the island’s public image remains positive.
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