Air conditioner fire eyed as cause in Adventist World Radio Myanmar studio blaze
Worker seriously burned as facility is damaged; work to continue at remote office
An explosion and fire in an air conditioning unit led to the gutting of Adventist World Radio’s production studio in Yangon, Myanmar on Sunday, Nov. 6. Saw Ka Paw Moo, a technician working in the studio at the time, suffered serious burns and is recovering at home.
“On Sunday afternoon at 1:00 p.m., when Mr. Saw Ka Paw Moo was working alone at his office, the air-conditioner blew out, and all the studio office was set on fire,” reported Pastor Shine Tha, communication director for the Myanmar Union Mission. “By the grace of God, within 15 minutes, 11 vehicles from the fire department came and they tried to stop the fire. Otherwise, the whole building would have been damaged.”
The worker’s injuries came as he tried to rescue some equipment and recordings from the studio, said Pastor Timothy Muna Paul, president of the Myanmar Union Mission, who spoke from Silang, Philippines, where he is attending year-end meetings of the church’s Southern Asia-Pacific Division.
Also damaged in the blaze were offices for the Voice of Prophecy Bible Correspondence School, Pastor Timothy said.
“Their office also burned, and their literature burned also,” he said of the VOP section. He said the group lost its “furniture, tables and chairs.”
But the most extensive damage was to the AWR recording studio, in which programs were produced in four regional languages. While the facility undergoes repairs, Pastor Timothy said workers would use a temporary facility in northern Myanmar, a ten-hour drive from the capital city of Yangon.
“They produce every day, so in this repairing time, I will ask them to go to upper Myanmar, [to a] new building there ... to produce their programs,” he said.
Pastor Timothy said the AWR team there “urgently needs” new microphones and other equipment, as well as repairs, to begin broadcasting again. AWR is headquartered in Silver Spring, Maryland, and is online at www.awr.org.
Adventist work in Myanmar, the nation formerly known as Burma, was formally organized in 1919 and reorganized in 1938. At the end of 2015, the Myanmar Union Mission reported a membership of 29,764 persons worshipping in 232 churches. The church operates two seminaries and a publishing house in the nation.