IPOH, Feb 20 ― Six died while two others were seriously injured due to smoke inhalation when fire engulfed an eight-storey entertainment outlet at Times Square Ipoh at Jalan Raja Dr Nazrin Shah here today.
The six are four men including two locals, a Bangladeshi and another whose identity is still being ascertained while two others are Vietnamese women.
The locals have been identified as Tai Chee Kin, 37, and Lau Wai Hoong, 36, while the Vietnamese are Ngu Yen Thi Trang, 19, and Ngu Yen Thi Thuy Dhong, 21.
The identities of the Bangladeshi and the unknown male are awaiting confirmation.
While the locals were found at 6.09am, the three foreigners were found at 9.30am and the last unidentified victim was found at 10am.
State acting Fire and Rescue Department director Sayani Saidon said the department had received a distress call at 5.49am and the first fire engine from Ipoh Station arrived at the scene 10 minutes later.
“When we arrived, operation at the outlet was still in full swing,” she said at the scene.
She added the two locals were found near the walkway of the fourth floor.
“The fire was believed to have started at the fourth floor and the victims tried to escape to the fifth floor,” she added.
Sayani said firemen faced difficulties at the scene due to thick smoke.
“We had to break the windows to allow ventilation. The other four victims were found after ventilation improved,” she said, adding three were found in a toilet while another was found in one of the rooms.
Sayani said the fourth and fifth floor had been partitioned to 15 rooms.
“We are investigating if a building plan had been submitted for the partitions,” she said, adding that the building was initially an office building before the new owner brought over.
The building has yet to undergo the mandatory annual safety check by the department this year, added Sayani.
To a question, Sayani said all victims died of smoke inhalation.
The remains of the deceased had been sent to Hospital Raja Permaisuri Bainun mortuary for post mortem while the critically injured are also receiving treatment at the same hospital.
The cause of the fire is still being investigated.
A total of 52 firemen including Pekan Baru volunteer firemen were involved in the operation.