Hard at work: Firemen putting out the fire in the Menggatal incident.
KOTA KINABALU: Three men were burnt to death in two separate fires that destroyed a house and shophouses in Tuaran and Menggatal respectively.
The three victims, including an elderly man, were believed to have been trapped inside their premises at the time of the fires.
Sabah Fire and Rescue Department public relations officer Mohd Affendy Ramin said the bodies of Zaris Khan, 20, and Assar Khan, 43, were found inside one of the six wooden shophouses in Menggatal that were destroyed in the fire, some 12km from the city.
He said the 1.40am fire on Wednesday was believed to have started from the unit where the victims’ remains were found.
The victims’ family were too distraught to speak to anyone and even pushed policemen away when they tried to calm the emotionally overcome family.
One of the six residents in the destroyed shophouses, which was built more than 30 years ago, Norbert Chong, 44, said he was already fast asleep in his house when the incident happened.
“I woke up after hearing screams from outside and managed to escape, but did not have time to bring anything with me,” he said, adding that all his important documents were destroyed in the fire.
Mayor Datuk Abidin Madingkir who was at the scene said the city hall would build temporary shelters for the affected shopowners.
In another incident, the charred remains of 97-year-old Pukimin Yokomo was found inside a razed semi-wooden house at Kampung Sungai Damit in Tuaran, some 30km from here, at about 9.50am on Friday.
Affendy said the fire broke out at about 9am and 10 firemen in two fire engines arrived at the scene 16 minutes later.
“The fire destroyed the house in just minutes and our men managed to bring the blaze under control within half-an-hour,” he said.