Four charred bodies were found inside a boutique in Macau after a suspicious fire ripped through the ground-floor shop early Wednesday.
Police are investigating whether the blaze was started deliberately.
“The four bodies were burned beyond recognition. We cannot identify even their gender,” a fire department spokesman, Lam Io-fan, said.
Lam said some circumstances of the blaze were suspicious.
“We were unable to find a reasonable cause of the fire and the front metal gate of the shop was wide open when our colleagues arrived,” he said.
Six fire engines were dispatched when the blaze broke out in the shop, Sweet’s, on the ground floor of an old apartment block on Rua do Tarrafeiro, in the central district of the city, at about 4am.
Firemen evacuated about 20 residents from the building and two nearby blocks of flats.
About 30 firefighters battled the blaze with three water jets and doused the flames within 15 minutes.
“After putting out the fire, our colleagues searched the shop and found four charred bodies on the mezzanine level,” Lam said.
He said an autopsy was likely to be carried out to establish the cause of their deaths.
Lam said it was the deadliest fire in Macau in the past five to six years.
Local media reported that the four people killed – believed to be three women and a man – were South Asians probably from Indonesia and Phillippines
Lam said the a staircase leading to ground level was the only exit from the mezzanine floor.
“We believe the fire started at the ground level and probably blocked their only escape route,” he said.(macaunews/scmp)