Cleaner jumps out of cleaning buggy as it bursts into flames
Driver of automated road sweeper escapes as fire engulfs vehicle
He was driving his cleaning buggy around the carpark when he saw flames from the corner of his eye.
He turned around and saw the back of his vehicle fully ablaze.
So he did what came instinctively. "I just jumped out," the 54-year-old cleaner, who only wanted to be known as Mr Munusamy, told The New Paper.
The incident happened at about 1.50pm yesterday at the carpark in front of Block 324, Ubi Avenue 1 while he was on his regular sweeping duty.
The fire consumed his automated road sweeper. Thankfully, Mr Munusamy escaped unscathed.
When The New Paper arrived at the scene at about 3pm, only the charred remains of the vehicle were left in the parking lot.
A Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF) spokesman said they were alerted to the fire at about 2pm. Two fire engines and bikes were sent to the scene.
The fire was extinguished using a water jet.
When the fire erupted, Mr Munusamy said he ran two blocks away to his wife, who was using a public toilet nearby.
His wife, who only wanted to be known as Madam Devi, 51, told TNP in Tamil: "He ran and told me (what happened). He was frightened."
"When he told me, I started trembling and got so scared," she added.
The couple, both Malaysians, work as cleaners in the Ubi area, shuttling to and from their home in Johor Baru every day.
Mr Munusamy has been employed at cleaning company Clean Solutions for the last four years.
The manager of Clean Solutions, who identified himself only as Mr Phua, said the fire was caused by a short circuit in the vehicle.
The sound of the vehicle bursting into flames was so loud, it jolted a resident from his afternoon nap.
Mr Manivasan Rengan, 62, a service engineer, said he could hear it from his 12th storey flat at Block 324.
"I heard a loud 'boom' sound and ran out to look. It was a very loud noise," he said.
He hurried down to the carpark and saw a huge fire blazing.
He said: "(Mr Munusamy) was so shaken. (But) he kept saying he was okay."
The Ubi resident is friends with both Mr Munusamy and his wife. He has been bumping into them around the block for the last few years and often stops to chat with them.
Mr Manivasan said: "There was a blue car near the blazing (road sweeper) in the carpark.
"When the driver ran down (and saw the fire), he quickly got into his car and drove away."
Another resident of the opposite Block 323, Madam Esa Aman, 66, also heard a loud sound from her ground-floor home.
Madam Esa, a housewife, said: "I went out (of my house) and just stood by the lift to see what happened because I was too scared to go closer."
She had been getting ready to head to the nearby shops, but was so frightened by the sight before her that she hurried back into her house,
She said: "The fire was huge and clouds of black smoke were billowing (from the vehicle)."
He ran and told me (what happened). He was frightened. When he told me, I started trembling and got so scared.
- Madam Devi ( above with her husband Mr Munusamy, who narrowly escaped from his blazing cleaning buggy)