Singapore

Residents help save man from burning flat

Victim, 23, taken to hospital after fire in 9th-storey flat at King George's Avenue

The man was sitting by his front gate, pleading for help. Behind him in the two-room flat, a fire raged, spewing black smoke.

Mr Hasrat Ali and four other residents of Block 805, King George's Avenue, near Jalan Besar Stadium, swung into action. First, they broke the bedroom window to try to get to the house keys in the room.

Mr Hasrat, 56, a helper at a hawker centre stall, said: "I wanted to enter the bedroom (through the window), but people told me not to because the smoke was so thick.

"The fire was pretty big. It was right by the bedroom door."

The neighbours then decided to try and put the fire out with pails of water.

The drama started at a ninth-storey unit on Wednesday at about 1pm.

The victim, 23, suffered burns to his head, shoulders and back. He was conscious and taken to Singapore General Hospital.

(Above) The victim was trapped in the flat.

A resident on the 12th storey, who wanted to be known only as Mr Sathis P, 25, alerted the authorities to the fire.

Mr Sathis said: "I was having my lunch when I heard screams for help. I went outside and saw this thick, whirling, grey smoke filling the entire corridor."

He walked downstairs and called the Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF), which sent one fire engine, two Red Rhinos, two fire bikes, one ambulance, and one support vehicle.

Mr Sathis said he saw SCDF officers enter the flat through the broken bedroom window.

The New Paper understands that the key was eventually retrieved from the bedroom. They were used to open the front gate and let the victim out.

His father, Mr Richard Leeteck Yin, 60, was in Johor Baru at the time. His friend alerted him to the fire.

Mr Yin told TNP: "I kept thinking if my son was inside, and how badly damaged the flat was, but I couldn't do anything because I was stuck in traffic back to Singapore."

The fire destroyed most of the contents in the living room, including the television, fridge and furniture. The smoke also charred the walls of his bedroom, hall and kitchen area. He estimated the fire caused $30,000 worth of damage.

The coffee shop assistant, who has lived in the flat since 1984, told TNP yesterday: "My son is stable now, but he would scream at night because of the burns."

The cause of the fire is under investigation.

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