Two sent to hospital after dawn blaze engulfs Yishun flat
His wife got a phone call telling them the awful news - their flat had caught fire.
When the caller told Mr Tan Lai Chuan, 66, and his wife that their son and daughter-in-law were trapped inside the Yishun flat, he feared the worst.
"I didn't know the caller, and no one could tell me if they were badly injured," Mr Tan told The New Paper.
He immediately left the Upper Thomson Road coffee shop where he and his wife work as assistants. She stayed behind to continue working.
Mr Tan arrived to a charred hollow of a home on the eighth storey of Block 624, Yishun Ring Road.
Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF) said they were alerted to the fire at 7.55 am yesterday morning.
SCDF officers had to break the door to get into the flat.
They rescued Mr Tan's son, Mr Tan Chuan Huat, 43, and daughter-in-law, Madam Ong Lay Pheng, 42.
The couple were sent to hospital with smoke inhalation and burns.
An SCDF spokesman said the fire engulfed the contents of the living room.
When reporters arrived, the elder Mr Tan looked distinctly bewildered.
"All burned already," he said, referring to his flat.
When asked about the blaze, Mr Tan said: "We all don't know what happened because we weren't at home."
Teary-eyed, he lamented: "Chinese New Year is coming soon and this happened."
Neighbour Mabel Tan said she was at the exercise corner at the foot of the block when she heard a loud noise.
Then, there was the tinkle of shattering glass.
When she looked up,she saw black smoke billowing.
The 69-year-old, who lives on the sixth storey, said: "I called my son-in-law first to ask him to evacuate."
For now, the family will put up at the elder Mr Tan's brother's flat. He has a unit on the fourth storey of the same block.
The cause of the fire is under investigation.
BURNED: Mr Tan Lai Chuan (in checkered shirt) examining the aftermath of a fire that destroyed his flat's living room.