2 brothers save 87-year-old neighbour from fire
Elderly man carried to safety when fire breaks out in Toa Payoh block
When a fire broke out at a Toa Payoh block yesterday morning, two brothers bravely carried their 87-year-old neighbour to safety.
Brothers Tan Seng Cheng, 23, and Seng Hui, 21, were themselves fleeing from their flat on the fourth storey of Block 178, Toa Payoh Central, after smelling smoke from the floor below.
"When we got to the third storey, we saw an old uncle trying to escape from a fire that was outside his flat. He couldn't even walk properly," the older brother told The New Paper.
"My brother offered to piggyback him down the spiral stairs, but he said no because he was in pain.
"I then offered to carry him over my shoulders. He declined this as well."
The elderly man then slowly made his way down the spiral staircase.
"But I think he panicked halfway because he stopped in his tracks and could not move," Mr Tan said.
The brothers, who are serving national service, had to react fast "because the fire was getting bigger and we could not leave him".
So the older brother lifted the elderly man from under his armpits and the younger brother lifted him by his legsand the two men carried him to safety.
When asked why they did it, Mr Tan said: "Anyone put in a similar situation would have done the same."
The Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF) received a call at around 8.05am yesterday about a fire involving electrical wiring outside a unit in Block 178.
"The fire was extinguished by the police using fire extinguishers before we arrived," its spokesman said.
"A man and two women were treated for smoke inhalation, but they refused to be taken to hospital."
In an interview with Lianhe Wanbao, the elderly man said he is a retired artist.
He said he was reading the papers in the living room when he suddenly smelled smokeseeping into the flat from the gap under the front door.
The only other person in the flat was his daughter. The maid had just gone out.
Mr Li said he opened the door and saw the flames. He and his daughter quickly made their way out of the flat.
When TNP visited the affected unit at 5pm yesterday, workers from the Bishan-Toa Payoh Town Council were helping to clean up the blackened mess.
A woman who identified herself as the owner of the flat said she was not present when the fire broke out.
The elderly man and his daughter declined comment.
RELIEF: Town council workers helping to clean up the mess at the third-storey flat.