Fire razes rental unit; 25 evacuated
He was sleeping when the fan went off and a strong burning smell lingered in the air of the Compassvale Lane flat.
Indian national Velagala Venkateraeddy, 23, woke up and opened the door of his room to find thick black smoke coming out from his friend's room at around noon yesterday.
"The mattress was on fire and the room was very smelly," said the Indian grocery shop assistant manager, whose housemate was at work. Mr Venka, as he prefers to be called, then rushed to the kitchen and grabbed the pot from a rice cooker and tried to put out the fire.
"Fire was coming out of the door. I didn't know what to do. Very hard to breathe," he told The New Paper.
Realising that his effort was to no avail, Mr Venka ran out of the 9th-storey flat barefooted and asked his neighbours to call for help.
Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF) was alerted to the fire at about 12.15pm yesterday.
An SCDF spokesman said the fire engulfed the content of the bedroom and was extinguished by SCDF using a water jet and two compressed air foams.
Mr Venka said that he had just been renting the room for a month and was most fearful about damage to his passport, which he had left in the room.
"If lost, will be a big problem for me," he said. He later found it undamaged.
BURNT: (Above) A fire ripped through this bedroom while Mr Velagala Venkateraeddy was sleeping in the next room.
The fire damaged the unit directly above.
The neighbour there was cleaning her flat when she saw thick black smoke billowing from below.
"The floor was very hot and I felt very scared," said the woman, who wanted to be known only as Mrs Xing, 56.
Mrs Xing, who was alone at home at that time, decided to leave the unit and returned about an hour later once the fire was put out.
"When I came back to my flat, the windows and walls in the room were all cracked," she said.
Town council cleaner Mohd Yousuf, 31, said it was the worse fire he has seen.
"The fire went all the way to the flat upstairs but luckily the neighbour closed her windows," said Mr Yousuf.
"I've worked in this neighbourhood for about 10 years and this is the worst fire I've seen so far," he said.
About 25 people were evacuated and no injuries were reported.
The cause of fire is still under investigation.