'Uncle, fire' then silence

'Uncle, fire' then silence
Mr Sim Lai Huat, 45, and Ms Sooria Kala Kanaseon, 34, from Pico Guards, were burned to death when they went to investigate the fire.

She said to her supervisor over the radio set: "Uncle, fire". Then she went silent.

Madam Sooria Kala Kanaseon, 33, and Mr Sim Lai Huat, 55, both security officers with Pico Guards, were killed in the line of duty during a fire at the posh Marina Bay Suites condominium.

Their bodies were found in a fireman's lift of the Central Boulevard property in the Jan 13 incident.

Yesterday, a coroner's inquiry into their deaths revealed that they died from extensive severe burns.

Also brought up were issues that could have contributed to the pair's deaths.

1 THE CAUSE OF FIRE: CIGARETTE EMBER AND SAWDUST

Senior Investigation Officer (IO), Staff Sergeant (Sgt) Ahmad Salihin Mashadi, said the blaze started at the fire fighting lobby on the 65th floor of the condominium.

A penthouse unit on the same floor was undergoing renovation works performed by 11 construction workers from four different companies.

Sawdust was generated as the apartment was getting parquet flooring installed at that time. The sawdust was swept up and placed in a bag.

Staff Sgt Ahmad Salihin told the court that, according to a Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF) fire investigation report, the blaze probably broke out after some cigarette embers came in contact with the sawdust.

Some cigarette butts and a cigarette box had been found inside a trash bag of sawdust in the unit. The SCDF believes that a similar bag had been placed at the lobby.

Said Staff Sgt Ahmad Salihin: "The renovation materials and equipment placed at the lobby provided the fuel load to sustain the fire."

He also told State Coroner Marvin Bay that the last construction worker left the premises at around 6pm on Jan 13.

2 THE 'FALSE ALARM'

According to the Decentralised Alarm Monitoring Stations (Decams), managed by security solutions company Ademco Singapore, the fire alarm was triggered at 9.34pm on Jan 13.

A minute later, its call operator Fang Zhen Yuan, 27, received a call from Madam Sooria saying that it was activated at Marina Bay Suites and she would be investigating the matter.

In a later interview with the authorities, Mr Fang said that he had told one of his colleagues, operator Quek Zhen Hong , 30, about the alarm after speaking to Madam Sooria.

Mr Quek then offered to help him liaise with the SCDF.

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