ALOR SETAR (THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK) - All a 13-year-old schoolgirl wanted was to buy some snacks at a sundry shop but she was at the wrong place at the wrong time.
The building in Jalan Sungai Tiang, Pendang, caught fire and the trapped girl was burnt to death.
Form One student Wan Putri Nur Aisyah Abdullah was inside the shop choosing the snacks when the fire broke out at 7.15pm on Monday.
Shop owner Che Fauzial Doya said she was attending to the girl when she suddenly spotted flames on the ceiling outside her shop.
"I rushed out quickly to try to douse the fire as it was spreading towards where I stored my cooking gas cylinders," the 47-year-old recalled.
"But the blaze spread quickly due to the strong wind.
"While I was busy trying to put out the fire, a food stall owner nearby told me that someone was screaming inside my shop.
"It was only then that I remembered that the girl was still inside," she said, adding that she thought Wan Putri had left the shop.
Wan Mohamad Firdus Abdul Wahab, 24, a friend of the girl's father who was waiting for her outside the shop, said he tried to rush in to save Wan Putri but was driven back by the intense flames.
"I could hear her screams. They lasted only about five seconds," he said.
"I tried, but could not do anything. I also heard several explosions as I ran out of the burning building."
Fire and Rescue Department Operation Commander Mohd Jamalludin Mat Yusop said when they reached the scene, the blaze had engulfed the entire shop.
"We found the girl's body at the back of the shop," he said.
"She could have run to the back of the shop to try and escape when she became trapped," he added.
"The cause of the fire has yet to be determined," said Mohd Jamalludin.
The girl's uncle Zamam Hassan, 53, said Wan Putri was "a helpful, happy girl".
She stayed with her two siblings and father, a sugar factory worker who had separated from his wife, in nearby Kampung Pulau Tengah.
The girl was buried at the Muslim Cemetery in Kampung Pulau Tengah early Tuesday.