SUBANG JAYA - Despite his efforts and those of his neighbours, a man failed to save his 36-year-old wife when flames engulfed their home in Taman Puchong Indah, Puchong, early yesterday.
For 15 minutes, the man, in his 40s, and his neighbours listened to Norizah Mat Salleh screaming for help as they tried to break open the upper floor's window grilles of the double-storey house in Jalan Indah 3/8.
Norizah was believed to have died of smoke inhalation.
She was sleeping in the master bedroom when the fire broke out at 2.30am.
Three of the couple's children were asleep in another room, while the husband and another child were watching television downstairs.
The husband, who was too distraught to be interviewed, smelt smoke coming from the first floor.
He ran upstairs to wake his wife and children.
He got all four children, aged between 4 and 13, out of the house when he realised Norizah was still inside.
He went back into the house, but the staircase had been destroyed.
Neighbour Siti Rabiatul Adawiyah said Norizah's husband and neighbours tried to break the window grilles.
"She cried for help for 15 minutes."
Firemen found Norizah's body in the master bedroom.
Siti Rabiatul said another neighbour, known only as Fendi, suffered burns on his legs while trying to get the victim out.
The fire spread to two neighbouring houses, one of which was Siti Rabiatul's.
"I heard screams. When I saw smoke coming out of Norizah's house, I ran out with my husband and three children," she said, adding that the upper level of her house was damaged.
Puchong Fire and Rescue Department chief Jefri Ahmad said three fire engines from his station and the Subang Jaya and Section 7 Petaling Jaya stations were despatched to the scene.
He said firemen took 20 minutes to control the fire.
"We are investigating the cause of the fire."