A fire engulfed a two-story shophouse on Jl. Titang in Makassar, South Sulawesi, on Thursday afternoon, claiming five lives.
The victims are the wife of the shophouse owner Monita, 49, and their children, Valensia, 21, Brigit, 17, and Jezten, 7, and there 3-year-old grandson Edgar Junior, an official said.
Makassar Fire and Rescue Agency operation department head Hasanuddin said five bodies were found on the second floor.
“We suspect they died from smoke inhalation after being trapped in a room. Our team was able to enter the second floor after breaking the window from outside,” he said.
The agency deployed 14 fire engines that arrived 10 minutes after receiving the report. The fire broke out at around 3:30 p.m. local time and was put out within 40 minutes.
The incident was allegedly caused by an electrical short circuit during rainfall. The fire spread quickly from the first floor to the second as the shophouse was used to produce foam pillows, an eyewitness said.
Neighbors tried to extinguish the fire, but were unable to contain the blaze.
Four employees at the shophouse were able to escape. Some reportedly jumped from the second floor while another broke through the fire.
The shophouse owner, Benny, 51, was not home when the incident took place, and arrived at the scene after the building had already been burned.
The bodies were taken to Bhayangkara Makassar Hospital. (sau)