I hid inside van to escape from mob, fireman tells inquest

Fireman Muhammad Hazim Rahimi says he does not know what happened to Muhammad Adib Mohd Kassim. (Bernama pic)

SHAH ALAM: A fireman who was on duty during the night of the Seafield temple riots in November said he hid inside an Emergency Medical Rescue Service (EMRS) van to escape the mob.

Muhammad Hazim Rahimi, who was tasked with extinguishing a car fire that night, said a crowd was heading towards the fire rescue tender (FRT) truck and the EMRS van which was following behind.

“There were people holding stones, sticks and metal rods coming towards our FRT truck.

“One of them was holding something that looked like a samurai sword.

“I jumped into the back of the van because I feared for my life,” Hazim said at the inquest into the death of his colleague, Muhammad Adib Mohd Kassim.

The hearing is being presided over by coroner Rofiah Mohamad.

Hazim, the sixth witness, told conducting officer Hamdan Hamzah that the crowd started to attack the van, and he could hear a helmet being hurled at the back of the vehicle.

Asked by Adib’s family lawyer, Kamaruzaman A Wahab, whether he saw Adib in the front seat of the van or if he was missing at the time of the attack, Hazim said he could not see the front of the van.

“The front and the back of the van are separated and you must look through a small panel to see what is happening in front.

“I would have recognised him (Adib) if he was in the crowd because he was wearing a bright camouflage uniform,” he said.

Questioned by lawyer Syazlin Mansor, representing the housing and local government ministry, Hazim said three teams were sent by the Subang Jaya fire station to deal with vehicles that had been set on fire on the temple grounds.

He said the crowd prevented the teams from going near the burning cars but was pushed back by police personnel.

‘Beat up the firemen’

Later, another fireman, Sharol Anuar Kamarudin, told the inquest he saw about 100 people rushing towards the FRT truck he was in.

He said he heard shouts of “jangan padam, pukul bomba” (”don’t extinguish the fire, beat up the firemen”).

Sharol said he saw the mob smash the truck’s rear view mirror.

“At the same time, we realised Hazim was not in the truck with us.

“We quickly left the scene and drove to the USJ 8 police station to lodge a report,” he said.

Sharol said the EMRS van and Hazim were already at the station when they got there.

“We were told that Adib was on his way to the hospital,” he said

The inquest, which entered its fourth day today, is to determine the cause of death of Adib, who was allegedly attacked by rioters during the temple violence on Nov 27.

The firefighter died at the National Heart Institute on Dec 17.