GEORGE TOWN: Khor Lai Choo, 75, was recovering after undergoing chemotherapy for nose cancer, which had caused her to be hard of hearing too.
So when the top floor of her home caught fire and her six-year-old granddaughter burned to death, Khor blamed herself for not being able to hear the child’s cries for help.
“There were shouts from outside that the upper floor of our house was on fire, but my mother and I could not hear them as we were baking cakes downstairs, ” said Khor’s daughter Lim Poh Guat, 50, when met outside the house in Taman Lip Sin yesterday.
“My brother’s daughter was downstairs at first. We did not realise that she had gone upstairs.”
Lim said her family was still coping with their mother’s illness and this tragedy had cast a pall over the upcoming Chinese New Year celebation.
On Thursday, firemen found the charred body of little Koey Siew Kim lying near a window in a room upstairs.
“My mother is heartbroken as she feels that she could have done something to save Siew Kim, but there was very little we could do as we realised too late that she was upstairs, ” said Lim.
Khor’s neighbour of 20 years, Miki Kirtana, said she saw the fire and shouted from outside her house to warn the family.
“A few of the neighbours rushed to the kitchen and managed to get Poh Guat and her mother out.
“They only realised later that Siew Kim was upstairs, but it was too late by then, ” said Kirtana, 24.
Firemen are still investigating the cause of the fire.