Subang fire caused by faulty power supply unit of computer (Updated)

PETALING JAYA: A fire that killed four members of a family in a double-storey terrace house in Jalan USJ 2/3, Subang Jaya on Feb 6 was caused by a faulty power supply unit (PSU) of a desktop computer.

Selangor Fire and Rescue Department head of fire investigations senior Supt II Azlan Rahmat said the source of the fire was found to have come from an overheated PSU that was plugged into a power socket in the hall on the ground floor of the house.

He said investigations were completed within two weeks after the incident.

"The probe was concluded in accordance with our targeted time frame of two weeks. However, the report was not made public as by our SOP (standard operating procedures), it is confidential and can only be released on request by family members of the victims, the owner of an affected premises or court of law. Usually, this is done for insurance claims," Azlan said.

He said several months ago, a member of parliament of the area had requested for the outcome of the probe.

Azlan said since the request was made by a political representative, his department issued a brief report stating the cause of fire and why it was not made public.

A viral message on social media yesterday claimed that it took the department five months to complete the probe.

However, this claim was quashed by Azlan.

In the early hours of Feb 6 – about a week after the family celebrated Chinese New Year together, Lim Ah Kok, 58, his wife, Goh Bee Khim, 52, and their two sons, Yong Liang, 20 and Yong Wei, 17 died when they were trapped in the house after the fire broke out at 5.30am.

The sole survivor of the tragedy, the couple's only daughter Lim Yi Jun, was away during the fire and was staying at her college hostel.

According to the Fire and Rescue Department, fires involving electrical appliances including computers are common due to wear, poor maintenance and faulty parts.

Overheating of electrical items is among the causes where a faulty part catches fire when heat exceeds the limit of the material.

This leads to the fire spreading to the power cables and eventually to other flammable items such as carpets, paper material and furniture.

In many such cases, victims usually escaped in time or managed to put out the flames.

However, in the case of the USJ 2 fire, the windows and doors of the double storey house were fitted with fixed grills which turned the place into a death trap.

The department advised owners of residential properties that as much as such grills are crucial as a security feature in keeping out intruders and criminals, it should have safety features that enable them to be opened from inside the house.

This may ensure safe evacuation in the event of a fire which might obstruct the main entrance of a house.