Handicapped powerlifting athlete Ata Maarof dies in fire

Muhammad Ata Maarof, believed to be a worker at a pizza outlet in Kuala Lumpur, was said to have returned to Muar for a five-day holiday. (Facebook pic)

JOHOR BAHRU: Handicapped powerlifting athlete Muhammad Ata Maarof, 28, was killed in a fire at his family home in Taman Pagoh Jaya, near Muar, today.

Muar district police chief Zaharudin Rasip said Ata’s charred remains were found at 11.30am.

He said Ata was paralysed in an accident five years ago.

He said his remains had been taken to the Muar Hospital for a post-mortem.

Meanwhile, Pagoh Fire and Rescue Station operations officer Husaini Eddy Mustafa said Ata’s body was found in the kitchen of his house, which was 60% destroyed.

He said the station received a call on the fire at noon and dispatched 18 firemen from Pagoh and Muar in two fire engines to the scene.

He said Ata’s mother had gone to the shop leaving the athlete alone in the house at the time.

Husaini said Ata, who was believed to be a worker at a pizza outlet in Kuala Lumpur, was said to have returned to Muar for a five-day holiday.

Ata won the bronze medal in powerlifting at the 19th Para Malaysian Games (Sukma) in Perak two years ago, with a lift of 55kg in the 65kg category.

Meanwhile, in TAIPING, seven double-storey terrace houses, four motorcycles, a van and a car were destroyed in a 4am fire in Taman Tupai Mas.

There were no casualties in the fire but a man, Ng Teong Chuan, 60, suffered burns on his right shoulder while trying to save his motorcycle.

A victim, Lian Wai Hung, 24, said he was sleeping upstairs when he heard his mother and father, sleeping downstairs, screaming.

“I woke up to the sound of an explosion and saw the fire at the parking lot for cars and motorcycles. We rushed out.”

He said a van, a car and three motorcycles belonging to his family were destroyed in the fire.