Sunday, April 14, 2013
No sweat: Loo sawing through a red ant-infested tree (right) that was uprooted after a freak storm in Jementah
Clad in shorts and wielding a chainsaw, former logger Loo Sin Seng looked quite the unconventional hero as he waded in to saw through a red-ant infested tree which had crashed onto a shophouse during a freak storm.
He had swooped in to help the Civil Defence Department officers after the red ants got agitated and ran around biting the personnel during the operation.
Loo, 63, however, seemed immune to the red ants, while the other men jumped and slapped at their bitten areas as they sprayed insecticide over the tree branches.
He made quite a sight as he tirelessly sawed through both the thick and thin sections of the tree while puffing away at a cigarette dangling from his lips.
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Department officers, meanwhile, worked on the rooftop to connect the sections with the crane's metal chains and sawed the connecting branches so that each section could be lowered to the ground safely.
When Loo finally had sawed through the tree trunk at around 1.30pm, the crowd let out a loud cheer and applauded him.
“My friend asked me to come over and help when he saw what was going on,” Loo said.
“I have been retired for about six to seven years,” he added.
Loo dismissed the red ant bites, saying that in his experience, bee stings were much worse.
The Sunday morning drama drew a big crowd of locals at Jementah town, who stood around for hours as they watched the painstaking “rescue” in progress.
Shop owner Tan Poh Lan, 40, said she had been alerted to the incident at around 8am, adding that the tree must have crashed onto the roof at around 3am.
Its roots had erupted from under the asphalt and its branches had caused parts of the roof to crack and give way.
“There was a very strong wind last night during the rain,” she said.
“I have never seen such a thing in almost 10 years of running the business,” said Tan, who sold Chinese prayer items.
Team leader Abdul Rahman Tahir welcomed Loo's expertise.
He said the storm had affected not just Jementah but had also caused another tree to fall onto an electricity pole in Kampung Permatang.
A durian tree had also blocked a road in Buloh Kasap.
“We will be heading over to those two locations after we are done here. This has been one of the more serious cases we have seen of late,” said Abdul Rahman.
Jementah assemblyman Datuk Dr Lee Hong Tee visited the area at around 8.30am and had ordered for a crane to be brought in to assist in the clean-up operation.