SIBU: Top Year Three pupil Rosemera Keram would have survived the SK Iban Union hostel fire on Friday night if not for her attempt to save a new schoolbag.
The nine-year-old girl had fled the wooden hostel but she dashed back into it after she realised that she had forgotten to take the RM20 schoolbag, which had her favourite cartoons on it.
“I saw Rosemera run back into her room as she wanted to get her schoolbag,” said Cornelia Maria, six, at the scene of the incident yesterday.
Rosemera, from the Mambang longhouse, which is a 10-minute longboat-ride away, was among five pupils who perished in the fire that broke out at 10pm when they were asleep.
The school in Ulu Balingian, in the Mukah Division was built in 1951.
It has 61 pupils from six longhouses – Rumah Lasit, Rumah Bagul, Rumah Chuat, Rumah Mambang, Rumah Amit and Rumah Anggok.
Rosemera’s grief-stricken mother Jiton Sadi, 30, said her husband Keram Tamin bought the schoolbag, chosen by Rosemera, in Tatau as it had her favourite cartoons on it.
Jiton said her daughter, who was third in her class last year, would still be alive if she had returned home on Friday as usual to spend the weekends with the family.
“I do not know why she did not come back home on Friday, otherwise she would not have died,” added Jiton.
Rosemera, who was described by her former teacher, Idawati Bahani, as a bright, hardworking and obedient pupil, wanted to either become a teacher or nurse one day.
The sudden death of Rosemara means Jiton and her husband are now childless. Last September, they lost their six-year-old son Sylvester Keram, who was killed by a falling sago palm.