Fire ruins New Year for Tampines family
Tampines flat catches fire while family is out visiting a relative
She was looking forward to starting the new year at her new secondary school.
Her family had bought her a new uniform, along with books for Secondary 1.
But 12-year-old Nur Adilah Rawi will not be having a dream start to school today after her home in Tampines was badly burnt on New Year's Day.
Her brother, Mr Mohd Afiq, said the teen's books and clothes were covered in ash and water after firefighters put out the blaze yesterday.
The 24-year-old national serviceman said: "What a way to start the new year."
He told The New Paper that he was working overnight on New Year's Eve, and was hoping to catch up on sleep yesterday.
However, he returned to find his four-room flat in Tampines Street 43 covered in soot and damaged by water. But he was thankful no one was hurt as the family was out when the fire started.
"They were visiting a cousin in Yishun when the fire broke out. My mother called to inform me," he said, adding that seven family members live in the 11th-storey flat.
The fire was believed to have started in the master bedroom around 1.15pm.
Recruitment manager Oliver Stewart, 41, who lives in the next block, said he sensed something was wrong when he detected a strong burning smell.
"At first, I thought people were burning incense but the smell became stronger. I started checking my own home, in case it was coming from here," he said.
"It was when I heard an explosion, glass breaking and people shouting 'Fire! Fire!' from the void deck that I realised a flat was on fire."
Mr Stewart called the Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF) before calling TNP.
Madam Tan, a 65-year-old housewife who lives below the burning unit, said she heard a lot of "banging and breaking glass".
"I thought someone was renovating upstairs and thought nothing of it until I heard people shout 'Fire!'," she said.
"Then my son and I rushed downstairs."
Neighbours on the same floor, as well as those living above and below the burning unit, were evacuated to the first storey.
SCDF confirmed that it received a call at 1.24pm about a fire at Block 496C, Tampines Street 43, and sent two fire engines, a Red Rhino, an ambulance and a support vehicle to the scene.
Its spokesman said the officers found the main entrance to the burning flat locked and had to "enter using breaking tools".
"The fire involved some contents in one of the bedrooms and was extinguished using one water jet," she added.
About an hour later, the residents were allowed back into their own homes.
As for Mr Afiq, he said his family would be staying at an uncle's flat two streets away until SCDF finishes its investigations.