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Both the elder sister and the niece of Burma’s former vice president, Sai Mauk Kham, were killed in a fire at their home in the northern Shan State town of Muse in the early hours of this morning.
Neighbours in Homon Ward said the home of Nang Khawng, the former vice president’s 76-year-old sister, caught on fire at 2:30am on 17 May when she and her daughter, Nang Kham Lao, 52, were asleep.
One side of the two-storey building was leased to a Kanbawza Bank branch.
Sai Yi Thein Kyaw, a local resident and former administrator of Homon ward, told DVB that several people in the neighbourhood were awoken by the fire and attempted to rescue the two women, but the blaze was too intense.
“We rushed to the scene to help put it out,” he said. “It was the house of the former vice president Sai Mauk Kham’s sister Daw Nang Khawng.
“We heard there were people trapped in the building, but the blaze was too strong. We couldn’t get inside.”
He said the fire was suppressed around 3:30am, when the charred remains of the mother and daughter were found inside the building.
Tun Tun Soe, the assistant director of the Muse District Fire Services Department, said 15 fire trucks were dispatched to the scene and 150 firefighters joined the effort to extinguish the flames.
The fire chief speculated that the fire broke out as a result of an electrical spark from a power inverter. He said the two women most likely died from smoke inhalation while they were trapped inside the building.
He said the cost of the damage was estimated at 6 million kyats (US$4,400), but that it was not immediately known how much cash was lost inside the bank, which was also was devastated by the fire.
Nang Khawng has been charged post-mortem under Penal Code article 285 for negligent conduct with respect to fire or combustible matter.