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BUTTERWORTH: J.P. Supermaniam is no superman but he is indeed a hero, at least to the Taman Mak Mandin flats’ residents, after he braved a fire to rescue a 6-month-old baby left alone by his babysitter.
Risking life and limb, Supermaniam dashed into the burning flat to save the baby, Y. Messhvin, who suffered extensive burns in the blaze.
Relating the 10.30am drama, the 60-year-old retiree said he was at home when he heard shouts from neighbours.
Supermaniam rushed out and was shocked to see the unit, six doors away, on fire.
"My neighbours and I immediately grabbed fire extinguishers and smashed the window to put out the fire."
Supermaniam said he was shocked when he heard baby's cries in the house.
"When I opened the door, the whole unit was engulfed in flames up to the ceiling. I knew it was dangerous, but I decided that I must save the baby at all cost."
Supermaniam found Messhvin crying in a cot, placed under a burning altar.
"The baby's clothes were on fire and I doused the flames before asking my son to rush him to the hospital immediately."
Messhvin, who suffered 60 per cent burns, was later transferred to Penang Hospital's intensive care unit.
The fire occurred minutes after the babysitter, G. Saroja, 48, left the baby, who was asleep, to buy some groceries at a shop nearby.
It is learnt that Saroja had lighted up a coconut oil lamp to perform prayers before leaving the house.
Messhvin's father, A. Yogeswaran, 32, said he learnt about the incident when he arrived to the flat unit to send his his 6-year-old daughter to Saroja.
State Fire and Rescue Department deputy director Mohd Shoki Hamzah said seven firefighters from Butterworth were sent to the scene after receiving a call at 10.36am.