Friday June 4, 2010
Student dies after kiosk workers refuse to help
By M. KUMAR
KUALA LUMPUR: A man’s desperate attempt to save a woman from her burning car was in vain because petrol kiosk attendants refused to lend him their fire extinguishers despite his pleadings.
The tragic 3.30am incident yesterday happened after an accident involving the woman’s Perodua Myvi, a couple’s Toyota Vios and a lorry with two men.
The accident, on the flyover along Jalan Cheras near Jalan Loke Yew, caused the Myvi to catch fire.
Among the earliest to arrive on the scene was 31-year-old Teo Chai Yong.
He was on the phone with the emergency hotline operator when he heard the frightened screams of “Tolong! Tolong! Help me!” from a woman in a Myvi. Sparks flew from under the car.
Teo quickly drove to the nearest 24-hour petrol station, less than 500m away, hoping to find a fire extinguisher.
“As I ran up to the paying counter, I saw four fire extinguishers behind the glass door. An attendant was on the other side.
“I pleaded with him to let me have the fire extinguisher and screamed that someone was pinned inside a burning car.
“But he just stared at me and kept saying he was not allowed to open the door after hours,” Teo said.
In desperation, Teo even offered to buy the extinguishers and showed the attendant his identity card.
Shortly, a second attendant showed up beside the first man and told Teo to call the fire department if there was a fire.
In frustation, Teo rushed back to the accident scene, only to see the car, with the woman still inside, engulfed in flames.
“She was still screaming but I could do nothing. I just stood there, her screams grew more frantic before fading away,” he said in a telephone interview.
BH Petrol’s managing director Tan Kim Thiam, when contacted, expressed regret over the incident at one of their petrol stations.
He said robberies were common in those hours.
“The staff were concerned and did not respond to the request as they could not see the accident,” said Tan, who declined to comment further.
City traffic police investigations chief Deputy Supt Abdullah Roning said the woman was burnt beyond recognition and her personal identification documents were also lost in the fire.
“We believe she was a 27-year-old college student from Sarawak,” said the city police prosecution division head.
The driver of the Toyota Vios and his girlfriend were also seriously injured and were rushed to Hospital Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia here.
The case is being investigated under Section 41 (1) of the Road Transport Act 1987 for reckless or dangerous driving.