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Thai mom, daughter killed in Penang shophouse blaze

GEORGE TOWN (May 2): An elderly woman and her daughter, both Thai nationals, died in a fire that destroyed the second floor of a shophouse in Jalan Air Itam, Datuk Keramat here yesterday.

In the incident at about 11.30am, Aishah Tok Pok Ku, 51, and her 80-year-old mother Minah Yahya were trapped on the staircase of the double-storey building and did not have a chance to escape.

According to a restaurant worker, Rohana Abdul Rahman, 33, also a Thai national, said Aishah was in the kitchen when the fire broke out and ran upstairs to the second floor to rescue her mother.

"I saw sparks from the fuse box on the top floor and informed Kak Sah (Aishah) and two other co-workers. Kak Sah quickly rushed to rescue her mother although I tried to stop her as the fire was spreading quickly.

"We ran out of the shop and I saw Kak Sah pulling her mother down the staircase before a piece of wood fell on them," she said when met at the location here yesterday.

According to Rohana, Aishah had been running a tomyam restaurant located on the ground floor of the shophouse for the past four years.

She said besides Minah, Aishah's son, in his 20s, also stays with them but is currently stranded in their hometown in Pattani, Thailand due to the implementation of the Movement Control Order (MCO).

Meanwhile, Jalan Perak Fire and Rescue Department chief A'zelan Hassan said firefighters rushed to the scene after receiving a distress call at 11.33am and arrived seven minutes later.

He said the blaze started from the upper floor and was brought under control shortly after noon. The fire was completely extinguished about half an hour later.

Both the bodies were found sprawled on the stairs and the victims were found to have suffered about 10% to 20% burns. Their remains were sent to the Penang Hospital for post mortem.

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