A RETIRED army sergeant was honoured for risking his life to save a woman involved in a road accident.
Hafizol Hashim, 44, from Pongsu Seribu, Kepala Batas, received a certificate of appreciation for his brave act from Penang Fire and Rescue Department director Saadon Moktar.
In the 10am accident on Jan 31, a father and his daughter were killed while the mother escaped unhurt when the car that the family was travelling in crashed into a road divider at the North-South Expressway in Kepala Batas while heading north.
Hafizol, who works as a building contractor, was riding a motorcycle on his way to Alor Setar when he saw a car crash into the road divider and went up in flames while the mother was found outside the car.
“Upon seeing the incident, I parked my motorcycle and went towards the car which was burning and managed to stop the woman who was trying to get into the car to rescue her child and her husband trapped inside.
“The man, who was believed to be in the driver’s seat, was thrown to the back seat following the impact of the car hitting against the divider.”
Hafizol said the man was already dead, while the child was still alive in the back seat and was struggling but he could not save her, as the fire was spreading too fast.
“Many of us there had to give up our attempt to save the child or else we would have been burnt.
“Even the portable fire extinguisher was not enough to put out the fire.
“Following the incident, I was traumatised for three days. I could not sleep while recollecting the cries of the child, ” he said at the state Fire and Rescue Department’s annual parade at its headquarters in Batu Kawan near Nibong Tebal recently.
In his speech, Saadon said the Penang Fire Department received 2,846 calls and saved RM1.3mil in estimated assets last year.
In 2018, the department received 2,179 calls and saved assets estimated at RM1.6mil.
He said he was proud of the state department’s achievement in emergency response time of an average of 10.96 minutes, which was better than the national average of 14.24 minutes last year.
“The achievement was largely due to the development of a ‘fire cover’ plan that is in line with the fire risk index, apart from an increase in number of new fire stations last year.
“Besides that, strategic reforms in accelerating a team of responders to an emergency site and the ongoing implementation of ‘pre-planning’ are among the contributing factors to this outcome, ” he said.
Also present were the department’s state deputy director Hassan As’ari Omar and assistant director Yusri Mohd Yusoff @ Hashim.
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