'Maybe I'm the bad luck charm'
That was the first thought that went through DJ Shan Wee's mind as he watched firemen mop up after a blaze at Mega Food Court.
The coffee shop on Balestier Road was destroyed on Sunday morning.
It also happened to be just a hop from Wee's condominium.
There was a sense of deja vu because the exact same thing happened four years ago.
The Irish-Chinese Hot FM91.3 DJ was then staying at Ang Mo Kio Avenue 9, where he also witnessed a coffee shop blaze near his house.
Was it all just a coincidence?
Wee had moved into his Balestier apartment six months ago with wife Artika Sulaiman, 32, and their one-year-old son Ciaran.
Wee, 32, told The New Paper: "The incriminating factor here is that in both instances, it happened to coffee shops near my houses.
"The common (denominator) is me. Maybe I'm the bad luck charm, the fire-starting jinx."
TNP reported yesterday that witnesses heard an explosion at the 24-hour coffee shop in front of Balestier Hill Primary School.
Flames engulfed the shop and some 20 people, including customers and stallholders, fled to safety.
One stallholder even had time to grab his roast ducks before running out.
The fire was put out within 20 minutes.
There were no reported injuries, but a man from a neighbouring unit was taken to Tan Tock Seng Hospital as "a precautionary measure" after suffering "minor abrasions while exiting", the Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF) said.
The cause of the fire is being investigated, the SCDF said.
Wee, who was driving past the coffee shop an hour after the fire broke out, slowed to a halt when he saw the firemen and fire engine outside food court.
He said a lot of other drivers had done the same to "kaypoh".
After he and his wife saw the burnt-out coffee shop, Wee said they started to wonder if their condominium had any fire exits and smoke detectors.
He said: "I recognised Mega Food Court because I always thought it was a funny name. When you think of 'mega', you think of a huge space or rows of the same coffee shop.
"This place consisted of one (average-sized) unit."
But Wee has never eaten there, preferring to patronise the other better-known eateries in the vicinity, such as Boon Tong Kee chicken rice and Founder Bak Kut Teh.
Mega Food Court is said to be famous for bak kut teh and claypot frogs' legs.
TNP reported yesterday that a solitary charred duck was all that remained in what was left of the coffee shop.
"If Mega Food Court ever comes back, the first thing I will do is go there and eat. I heard they specialise in really crispy duck," Wee quipped.