MIRI: A young pregnant mother and her four children, including one who was disabled, were burnt to death in a fire that destroyed a double-storey squatter house in the outskirts of Miri town early yesterday morning.
The dead were identified as housewife Noni anak Empatit, 23, her children Stanley anak Gajis, two, Maxwell, three, Melissa, four, and Saila, seven.
They were trapped in the back portion of the ground floor of the house in Pujut Corner at about 1am when fire swept through the wooden structure.
Miri Fire and Rescue Department chief Janggan Muling said the victims were trapped inside the house and did not have a chance to escape.
“We are investigating whether there was any human negligence involved.
“It was a squatter house occupied by three families. The family of the victims had rented part of the house. Noni's 20-year-old husband, Anthony anak Atak, a security gurad, was at work at the time of the tragedy,” he said.
Muling said the cause of the fire was not yet ascertained.
Thirteen others in the house managed to escape before the fire engulfed the whole structure.
Asked if there were any illegal structures or grills that prevented the victims from escaping, Muling said that aspect was being investigated.
The charred remains of the five victims was sent to the Miri Hospital mortuary.
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