JOHOR BARU - A 24-year-old man watched helplessly as his trapped girlfriend died of smoke inhalation, when a double-storey house in Taman Pelangi Indah, here, was destroyed by fire.
The victim, Loh Hui Jin, 24, was believed to be asleep upstairs when she was awakened by the heat.
It is learnt that Loh called her boyfriend, Kee Yung Ywe, who was already at the scene when firemen from the Johor Jaya Fire and Rescue Department arrived after receiving a call from Loh at 8.18am.
Its operations chief, Syed Nasir Syed Abu Bakar, said Kee had climbed onto the balcony and was trying to break the window in an attempt to get her out.
He was seen talking to Loh and trying to calm her down but was prevented from reaching out to her because of the iron grilles.
Syed Nasir said the team, comprising 10 firemen, broke the glass window before cutting the grilles to get Loh out of the burning bungalow.
But Loh died from suffocation on the way to Sultan Ismail Hospital.
A grieving Kee was also treated at the hospital for smoke inhalation. His condition is reportedly stable.
Syed Nasir said that after the firemen had saved Loh, a neighbour informed them that two of her brothers, aged 9 and 14, were also inside the house.
"We (the firemen) went back in and tried to find the two boys in the thick smoke but could find no one else there," he said.
Syed Nasir said they immediately contacted the victims' parents, who were away in Ipoh, Perak, and learnt that the boys were in school at the time.
"The mother quickly called the school and confirmed they were in school."
It is learnt that the parents were in the cosmetics industry and Loh, a beautician, was helping in the family business.
The fire was put out by 10.32am and the cause is being investigated.