In the early hours of Feb 6, about a week after Chinese New Year, a fire that broke out at 5.30am at a house in Subang Jaya took the lives of four members of a family.
Lim Ah Kok, 58, his wife, Goh Bee Khim, 52, and their two sons, Yong Liang, 20 and Yong Wei, 17, died when they were trapped in their double-storey terrace house in Jalan USJ 2/3, Subang Jaya, after the fire broke out.
The sole survivor of the tragedy was the couple’s only daughter Lim Yi Jun, who was away during the fire and staying at her college hostel.
According to Selangor Fire and Rescue Department head of fire investigations senior Supt II Azlan Rahmat, the source of the fire was found to have come from a desktop computer’s overheated power supply unit (PSU) that was plugged into a power socket in the hall on the ground floor of the house.
Contrary to a viral message yesterday that claimed the department took five months to complete the problem, Azlan said investigations were completed within two weeks after the incident.
“The probe was concluded in accordance with our targeted time frame of two weeks.
However, the report was not made public as by our SOP (standard operating procedures), it is confidential and can only be released on request by family members of the victims, the owner of an affected premises or court of law. Usually, this is done for insurance claims,” Azlan said.
He added that several months ago, a member of parliament of the area had requested for the outcome of the probe.
Azlan said since the request was made by a political representative, his department issued a brief report stating the cause of the fire and why it was not made public.
According to the Fire and Rescue Department, fires involving electrical appliances, including computers are common due to wear and tear, poor maintenance and faulty parts.
Overheating of electrical items is among the causes where a faulty part catches fire when heat exceeds the limit of the material. This leads to the fire spreading to the power cables and eventually to other flammable items such as carpets, furniture and paper materials.
In many such cases, victims usually escaped in time or managed to put out the flames.
However, in the case of the USJ 2 fire, the windows and doors of the house were fitted with fixed grills which turned the place into a death trap.
The department advised house owners that as much as such grills are crucial as a security feature in keeping out intruders and criminals, the grills should have safety features that enable them to be opened from inside the house.
This may ensure safe evacuation in the event of a fire which might obstruct the main entrance of a house.