Employee: I heard explosion before blaze

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PETALING JAYA — An Employees Provident Fund (EPF) employee claimed she heard an explosion before the fire that broke out at the building in Jalan Gasing.

T. Saraswati, 38, said she was on duty at the information counter in the lobby at that time.

“I heard an explosion from outside the building. I thought it was construction work. (However,) I was proven wrong when the security personnel told me that the left side of the building was on fire,” she told Bernama at the scene.

Saraswati said the situation became chaotic when all employees who had parked their cars near the affected area rushed to move their vehicles.

“Some of them could not do so due to the raging blaze … 40 per cent of the building was engulfed in flames in less than 10 minutes,” she said.

A 29-year-old employee who wanted to be identified only as Riduan said he attempted to move his three-month-old car but was stopped by colleagues as the front of the car was already ablaze.

“I was on the fourth floor when the incident occurred. I immediately rushed to get my car after being told (about the fire) by security personnel but the front part was badly burnt by the time I got there.

“However, I am grateful that all the staff are safe,” he said.

Salehien Abdul Rahman, 25, who was on the Federal Highway, said the fire could be seen from as far as 3km away.

“I was travelling towards the city centre from Shah Alam at that time. I could see the blaze from afar and the highway was congested as motorists slowed down to see the building on fire,” he said.

Earlier in a statement, EPF assured stakeholders that the fire had in no way compromised data or its members’ savings.

“We would like to assure members that there has been no compromise to data integrity or members savings in any manner.

“We will continue to monitor the situation as it develops and will provide an update once the branch is back in operations,” the statement read.

“As safety of customers and staff is our prime concern, total evacuation of the building has been taken, and office and counter services are closed until further notice.”

It also said that a message claiming its payout system had been affected following the fire is fake.

A spokesman for EPF told Malay Mail the message was untrue and urged those seeking to perform transactions to head to the nearest branch.

The statement, shared on WhatsApp with the header “Official Announcement”, claimed that the fund’s operating system would be down for six months.