Couple and son jump from second storey to escape Whampoa flat fire
Mum of six who sprained ankle among 10 in Whampoa taken to hospital with injuries and for smoke inhalation
A 40-year-old mother of six sprained her ankle after jumping out of a window to escape a fire in a second-storey flat in Whampoa yesterday morning.
Her husband and one of their sons, who also leapt to the ground from the two-room flat, sustained minor injuries.
The eldest son, part-time food delivery rider Muhammad Haiqal Zuraimi, 23, said he was delivering food nearby when his friend, who lives near him, called to tell him that his home was on fire.
"I quickly cycled home and the scene was chaotic. I went to see my mother, who was being taken care of by paramedics, to see how she was doing," he told The New Paper.
"She was in a state of shock and looked like she was in pain. She was upset at the damage to our home, but I told her not to worry about that and to focus on her health."
Mr Haiqal added that she had sprained her ankle from landing on the ground.
The Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF) said in a Facebook post that it was alerted to the fire at Block 22 Jalan Tenteram at about 9am.
"The fire was raging and had engulfed a residential unit on the second floor," it said.
Firefighters from Central Fire Station put out the blaze with a water jet and two compressed air foam backpacks.
Ten people, including three children, were taken to hospital with injuries and for smoke inhalation, the SCDF added.
Two of them were found on the ground with injuries and attended to by a paramedic and crew from the SCDF's emergency medical services.
About 100 people from the block were evacuated as a precaution by the SCDF and police.
A few units next to and above the affected unit sustained heat and smoke damage, SCDF said.
"Preliminary investigation into the cause of the fire indicates that it was of electrical origin from the living room," it added.
Mr Haiqal said six of those taken to hospital were from his family: his mother, stepfather, two brothers, aged 15 and 16, his 18-year-old sister and her three-month-old baby.
The others are understood to be occupants in the unit above who suffered smoke inhalation, Chinese-language newspaper Lianhe Wanbao reported. It said that a laptop being charged was the cause of the fire.
Mr Haiqal said he learnt that his sister and her son were able to escape from the flat through the front door with one of his brothers.
But his parents and another brother were cut off from the front door by the fire.
He said the brother who escaped through the window suffered minor burns on the back of his ear while his stepfather sustained abrasions on his back.
Mr Haiqal added that he later went back to the gutted unit with his brother, Mr Muhammad Huzaimi Zuraimi, 22, to see what they could salvage.
"We were told that it will take between three to six months for our home to be repaired," he said, adding that he will be staying with his friend for the time being.
In response to queries, Senior Minister of State Heng Chee How, an MP for Jalan Besar GRC, said he met one of the children of the affected family, along with grassroots leaders and the Whampoa Welfare Committee, The Straits Times reported.
"We're in close touch with him and his family, as well as other families in the surrounding units. We will coordinate our efforts to help them," he said.
When asked if any residents had requested emergency accommodation, Mr Heng said the Housing Board is in contact with the affected families.
"Some of the families are checking with their relatives to see if they can live with them in the interim, but HDB stands ready to offer them flats to stay in temporarily," he said.
Madam Susan Wong, 60, a third-storey resident who was evacuated, told TNP they were not allowed to return to their homes for two hours.
"When we got back, my entire flat was covered in soot," said Madam Wong, who added that she was glad her unit had not been burned.