Elderly woman rescued after mobility scooter catches fire

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An elderly woman had a narrow escape after a mobility scooter burst into flames and started a fire in a Housing Board block of studio units for the aged in Bedok on Saturday.

A resident, 83, had left his two mobility scooters on a fifth-storey corridor before going to church, Chinese-language daily Lianhe Wanbao reported.

The devices were not being charged at the time, but one suddenly gave out sparks before catching fire and engulfing the corridor in thick smoke.

The man's next-door neighbour, a 70-year-old woman, was watching television when she heard several explosions and noticed smoke seeping into her home.

The woman, who gave her name as Saias, said she was unable to escape as the front door was too hot.

"I was so scared that I cried and shouted for help. Just when I thought this was the end for me, the heavens sent an angel to help me," she told Wanbao.

A man appeared and repeatedly doused water over the flames with a bucket before trying to knock the door down. She then handed the keys to him through a window.

"He pulled me out to safety after opening the door and sat me down near the staircase. He then left quietly. The door was so hot and it was so dangerous, but he was so brave," she added.

The Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF) said it was alerted to the fire at Block 509B Bedok North Street 3 at about 2.30pm. The fire was put out before SCDF's arrival by people using buckets of water, it added.

There were no reported injuries and the cause of fire is under investigation.

The good Samaritan was contractor Xu Jiafu, 46, who said he was not a hero but was merely doing what he should.

Mr Xu, who lives in the next block, said he happened to be at the void deck of Block 509B when he saw the fire.

"There are many elderly people living in the block, so I was worried about their safety.

"I am glad they are okay," he said.