JOHOR BARU: Police have detected elements of foul play, behind a fire which gutted a shophouse in Taman Bukit Indah yesterday, killing two women.
Iskandar Puteri district police chief ACP Dzulkhairi Mukhtar said closed-circuit television (CCTV) footage of the two-storey shop selling paint and home appliances showed an unidentified man carrying a plastic bottle believed to contain flammable liquid which could have been used to start the fire.
Police believe the fire started from the back of the premises, near a ground floor grille which firemen broke open to enter the shophouse and put out the fire.
The liquid, believed to be oil-based, could be smelt at the back of the premises, Dzulkhairi said in a statement.
The two victims, a woman in her sixties and her niece in her twenties, were part of a family of five affected by the fire.
Both women died in the blaze, while the other family members comprising the older victim’s son aged 44, his wife aged 40 and his six-year-old son were taken to Hospital Sultanah Aminah here for treatment.
An emergency call was received by the Fire and Rescue Department at 4.34am, after which a team of 28 personnel from the Iskandar Puteri, Larkin and Skudai fire and rescue stations were dispatched to the scene.
Dzulkhairi said investigations for the offence of mischief by fire or explosive substance under section 436 of the Penal Code are continuing, with a search of the scene already undertaken by the forensic units of both the police and Fire and Rescue Department.
The premises, which had been rented since 2013, included living quarters on the first floor comprising two bedrooms, a living room, kitchen and paint storeroom. — Bernama