IPOH - A 40-year-old man died in a fire after he went to look for the keys to a grille door so that his family members could escape from the burning shophouse.
The family ran a sundry shop on the ground floor of the three-storey building in Bagan Serai. They lived on the first floor while the top floor housed an old theatre.
At about 4am yesterday, they realised that there was a fire at the front portion of the ground floor.
They rushed to the rear door to escape but the iron grille door was locked.
The victim, Tan Kok Wei, then went to get the keys.
Bagan Serai Fire and Rescue Department chief Azmir Hassan said firemen who arrived at the scene heard people screaming at the back portion of the shophouse.
"After cutting open the padlock, we managed to rescue five people, including Tan's two daughters aged eight and 12," he said.
The other three rescued were Tan's 37-year-old wife and his parents, aged 63 and 64.
"We were told that a man had gone into the shop to get the keys. The fire was spreading then," he said, adding that Tan's body was found under a table near the front door of the shop.
Firemen took about an hour to control the fire, he added. The cause of the fire is yet to be established.