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S$4545 ang pow money up in smoke
Wed, Feb 10, 2010
New Straits Times

BUTTERWORTH: A fire destroyed a row of wooden houses at Kampung Bagan Lalang, Mak Mandin here yesterday leaving five families homeless.

The blaze also destroyed two cars which were parked near the houses and left another slightly burnt.

Among those who lost all their belongings in the 9am fire included a 60-year-old grandmother.

Wong Bee Kim's dreams of celebrating the coming Chinese New Year were dashed as she also lost RM11,000 (S$4545) in the fire.

She had intended to use the money as ang pow for her family and had only recently withdrawn the cash from the bank.

Wong was with her grandson Choo Jin Xian, two, in the kitchen when she heard a loud crackling sound outside her house.

"I also heard people shouting and quickly grabbed my grandson before rushing out of the house.

"I could not save anything else as the fire spread quickly," she said, adding her family's Proton Waja was also destroyed in the blaze.

Wong said her family had been living in the house for the last 30 years.

Meanwhile, another victim, Wong Sum Kau, 60, suffered injuries on the head and right hand as he tried to save his belongings when the fire broke out.

"I was working at a nearby factory when a friend called me and said there was a fire.

"I immediately rushed home and tried to save some documents but the intense heat caused minor burns on my hand and head," he said.

Indonesian Nurlaida Sardilin, 29, said she rushed out of her home after alerting her brother in-law about the fire.

The housewife said she lost everything after the fire razed the house she had been renting for the last five years.

Butterworth Fire and Rescue Department officer Mohd Shafie Khamis said 20 firemen managed to control the fire in 30 minutes.

He said the cause of the blaze was still being investigated.

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