Saturday, December 3

Elderly couple and son killed in fire

Fire-fighters carrying the charred remains of one of the victims.

Fire-fighters carrying the charred remains of one of the victims.

A Toyota Vios and a Perodua Myvi were also destroyed in the fire.

A Toyota Vios and a Perodua Myvi were also destroyed in the fire.

KOTA KINABALU: An elderly couple and their son were killed when fire destroyed their house at Taman Bunga Raya in Luyang here early yesterday morning.

The charred remains of Yong Vui Keong, 69, Chong Fui Yen, 50, and their 30-year-old son, Peter Yong, were found by Fire and Rescue Services personnel inside their single-storey terrace house half an hour after the 1am fire incident.

Also destroyed in the fire were two adjoining terrace houses, a Toyota Vios and a Perodua Myvi belonging to the deceased and a Proton Saga car and a Toyota Liteace van belonging to the neighbours.

City police chief, ACP M Chandra, said the bodies of the deceased were found by Fire and Rescue Services personnel when carrying out investigation at the scene after putting out the fire at around 1.30 am.

“The fire-fighters immediately informed the police of the discovery and the charred remains were then taken to the Queen Elizabeth Hospital for post-mortem.

“We are still investigating the actual cause of the fire and have ruled out any foul play in the incident,” he said, adding that the deceased’s neighbours escaped unhurt.

Meanwhile, state Fire and Rescue Services Department public relations officer, Superintendent Mohd Affendy Ramli, said the department received a distress call at 1.08 am and immediately despatched 23 personnel in three fire engines to the scene.

“The fire had spread to two adjoining houses but we managed to control it. However, the middle house, where we believed the fire started, was badly destroyed.

“Once the fire was put out, our personnel carried out their investigation and discovered the charred remains of the victims, the first inside the bathroom, the second inside a bedroom while the third body was found in the kitchen,” said Mohd Affendy, adding that the charred remains were then handed to the police for further investigation.

Four vehicles were also destroyed in the fire, said Mohd Affendy, adding the cause of the fire and total losses were still under investigation.

The elderly Yong, 69, was the secretary of Lido Hawkers Association (Perlido) cum president of the West Coast Vehicle Service Handling Agent Workers’ Association (Perkas), as well as an active member of the Kota Kinabalu Gaya Street Hawkers Association.

He also served as a councillor with the Kota Kinabalu Municipal Council in the 80s and was a member of the Police Volunteer Reserve before retiring 15 years ago.

Yong was a well-known hawker selling herbs, especially misai kucing, at Lido open market, Sunday market at Gaya Street and Saturday market at Giant Hypermarket in Inanam.

Perlido chairman Lee Seng Wan described Yong as a capable man as he successfully registered the association in mere seven months. Since the inception of Perlido, Yong had served the association and was once again sworn in as the secretary during the installation ceremony on September 19 this year.

“Yong was a good man and a rare talent. He was willing to do anything and had diligently carried out his duties.”

Yong’s wife, Chong, 50, was a committee member of Perkas,
who had been providing vehicle-related services and was commonly seen in and out of the Road Transport Department (RTD) and government departments for many years.

Their son, Peter, 30, graduated from Sabah Tshung Tsin Secondary School and had previously worked at the Cherry Restaurant in Inanam, Sushi Tei Japanese Restaurant and a heavy vehicle company before taking up a managerial position at Zanmai Japanese Restaurant at Suria Sabah six months ago.