PETALING JAYA (The Star/Asia News Network) - A 29-year-old widow lost her three sons in the fire at a religious school in Kuala Lumpur.
Mrs Mashawani Mohamed Shahid's boys, Muhammad Syafid Haikal, 13, Muhammad Hafiz Iskandar, 11, and Muhammad Harris Ikhwan, 10, were among the 25 people killed in the blaze on Thursday (Sept 14).
Ms Rosnani Mohd Nor, a cousin of Mrs Mashawani, told The Star she discovered that her nephews were among the victims after their bodies were sent to Hospital Kuala Lumpur.
"Our family is grieving, especially the mother," she said, adding that the boys' father died eight years ago.
Ms Rosnani, who was still in shock, went to Hospital Kuala Lumpur to offer support to Mrs Mashawani.
"I haven't seen her yet. I hope she will stay strong through this," she added.
Another family member of the three brothers who died in the Tahfiz Darul Quran Ittifaqiyah fire expressed the family's regret in not taking them home after receiving a call from one of the victims on Thursday.
A cousin of the victims, Ms Mas Aliza Ali Bapoo, 22, said Hafiz Iskandar had called a few days ago to say he wanted to go home for holidays.
"We planned to take the three of them on Saturday but did not expect all of them would perish today, we are too shocked. I feel the pain most, as I am the one handling their transport to and from the tahfiz school since they began studying there in January," said Ms Mas Aliza.
Outside the hospital's mortuary, Ms Hamidah Mohamed Ibrahim, 63, said she had lost a child she regarded as her own flesh and blood.
"He was too young. I know this is God's will and I keep trying to remind myself of that. But it is difficult because this is really not an age to die. He had his whole life ahead of him," she sobbed.
Ms Hamidah lost her composure after she saw the first batch of bodies being taken into the forensic unit for DNA testing procedures.
Wiping her eyes with tissue paper, she lamented that it was too painful for her to bear.
"What will the parents be going through? No one should have to lose a child like this," she said as she was led away by a friend.