Woman engulfed by flames in car while using phone

Ms T. Sarishna, 23, suffered burns on more than 60 per cent of her body, and remained in an unstable condition yesterday. It is unclear what sparked the fire.
Ms T. Sarishna, 23, suffered burns on more than 60 per cent of her body, and remained in an unstable condition yesterday. It is unclear what sparked the fire.PHOTO: THE STAR TV

KUALA LUMPUR • A 23-year-old Malaysian woman suffered severe burns when fire engulfed the inside of her car while it was being refuelled at a petrol station.

Ms T. Sarishna had closed all the car doors and was in the back seat of her car on Tuesday, answering a phone call, when she was suddenly engulfed by flames.

She suffered burns on more than 60 per cent of her body, and was still not in a stable condition yesterday.

A worker at the petrol station, who declined to be named, said her colleague, who saw what happened, alerted her about the incident and ran to the car.

"He was shouting frantically, and then he opened the back door and saw thick smoke billowing out," she said.

Ms Sarishna was found slumped in the back seat.

A Kuala Lumpur Fire and Rescue Department spokesman said there could have been a build-up of fumes in the car.

By closing the doors, "the fumes in the car were not able to dissipate, and that could have caused the explosion", he said.

But it remains unclear what sparked the fire.

The incident took place a week after a seven-year-old boy was burned in Kelantan when he was playing with a lighter while his mother was refuelling their car at a petrol station in Kuala Krai, Kelantan.

A viral video of the incident shows a spark inside the car, followed immediately by an fiery explosion. The boy, Saifuddin Ismail, was inside the car. The mother rushed to pull him out.

Images posted on the Facebook page of Saifuddin's father showed severe burns on the boy's face and legs.

"While refuelling, don't smoke, don't leave your vehicle running, and most importantly, don't use a cellphone.

"These laws are there to protect consumers and should be taken seriously," Petroleum Dealers Association of Malaysia president Hashim Othman told The Malay Mail Online site.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 30, 2016, with the headline 'Woman engulfed by flames in car while using phone'. Print Edition | Subscribe