KOTA KINABALU - A stray dog adopted by a 53-year-old man whined and howled when he failed to get out of his wooden stilt house which caught fire in Jalan Cicily, Sandakan.
The distressed dog was seen running around the burning house while Wong Wing Sue was trapped inside the house during the 4am incident yesterday.
However, when firemen put out the fire, the dog ran into the bushes.
"Wong has been looking after the dog for many years. It looked very distressed and ran into the bushes," said a friend, Fung Kam Fai.
Wong's charred body was later found in the hall by firemen, who suspected the deceased might have woken up too late to escape.
Fung said he had informed the brothers and sisters of Wong, a bachelor, of the tragedy.
A man and a woman, believed to be Wong's siblings, were later seen at the scene as firemen brought out the body, which has been sent to the Duchess of Kent Hospital for a post-mortem.
Firemen said the house was almost destroyed when they arrived after receiving a distress call at 4.26am.
Sandakan Fire and Services Department operations officer Yus Pinsin said they were investigating the cause of the fire and the losses incurred.
As for the dog, Fung said he might adopt it.