KUALA LUMPUR: He was watching TV upstairs when he heard loud popping sounds but dismissed it as someone letting off firecrackers.
Little did Shamsul Ng Abdullah, 59, know a fire was raging in his own living room downstairs at their home in Taman Wangsa Permai, Kepong.
By the time he realised what was happening, the fire had spread.
It eventually claimed the lives of his daughter Lam Yan Yi, seven, granddaughter Ng Sze Xuan (pic), 10, and his Cambodian maid Sok Srey, 29.
It was a tragedy that has an eerie resemblance to last Monday’s fire which razed a house in Subang Jaya, Selangor, killing a couple and their two sons.
Yesterday, Sungai Buloh Fire and Rescue Department chief Mohamed Sabri A. Shamsudeen said Shamsul had tried to reach the children who were in a bedroom at the back of the house on the same floor as him but the flames were too intense.
“He had no choice but to jump off the balcony and injured himself,” he said when met at the scene.
Also trapped was his 81-year-old mother Wong Ah Yin, who was in a bedroom by the kitchen downstairs.
Shamsul’s wife Lam Chooi Lai, 37, who had returned home, quickly ran to the back door and managed to pull Wong out.
Mohamed Sabri said firefighters had to gain access to the upper floor via a neighbour’s balcony.
“By the time we reached them, the three of them were found collapsed at the doorway of one of the bedrooms,” he said.
He said there were no burns on them.
They were rushed to Sungai Buloh Hospital but were later pronounced dead.
Mohamad Sabri said they most likely died of smoke inhalation.
Selangor Fire and Rescue Department fire forensics assistant director Zakaria Muhd said it was clear that the fire started in the living room.
“For now, it looks like an electrical fire but we have to do a full investigation,” he said when met yesterday.
He acknowledged that the case seemed similar to the fire in Subang Jaya last week.
“Yes, they are similar,” he said, urging the public to be vigilant about fire hazards at home.
On the Subang Jaya fire, Subang Jaya OCPD Asst Comm Mohammad Azlin Sadari was quoted as saying that authorities were not ruling out the possibility that a short circuit was a cause.
Fire Investigation Division’s assistant director-general Edwin Galan Teruki said households should switch off and unplug their electrical devices.
“There have already been two fires in a week in Selangor, so please take precautions,” he said when met at the scene.
Edwin said the TV in the living room had not exploded, contrary to earlier reports.
“When things are on fire, they make loud ‘pop’ sounds,” he said.
He also advised the public to install smoke detectors.
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