Neighbours say fire was ‘waiting to happen’
40 evacuated from Ang Mo Kio housing block as fourth-storey unit goes up in flames
The fire that broke out in a fourth-storey unit at Block 446 Ang Mo Kio Avenue 10 was "an accident waiting to happen", two residents told The New Paper yesterday.
The flat owner is an elderly woman in her 70s, who is believed to be suffering from dementia. It is unclear if she lives alone.
A neighbour, who wanted to be known only as Ms Benardine, said she was greeted by smoke filtering into her home just as she was about to set off for work before 9am.
Said the executive assistant: "I saw the elderly lady outside her unit, panicking and knocking on (our) neighbours' doors for help."
She quickly woke her nephew and called the police immediately. While she was on the phone, she heard three consecutive explosions.
She said: "I was stunned and scared."
Ms Benardine, 43, said she had previously written to the town council to seek help for her elderly neighbour.
"Sometimes, we would see her walking in the corridors naked," she said.
Another neighbour, Madam Sarah Ambika, who has been living alone for 17 years, had noticed some fire hazards every time she walked past her neighbour's unit.
Madam Ambika, 70, told TNP: "I saw stacks of newspaper and other hazardous items in her flat. She even burned candles on her water meter once."
She added that she had written to the various authorities about her concerns.
The Singapore Civil Defence Force said "the fire that involved the contents of a kitchen was extinguished by SCDF using two water jets".
It added that about 40 occupants of the affected block were evacuated by the SCDF and the police.
There were no reported injuries and the cause of the fire is still under investigation.
Mr Ang Hin Kee, MP for Ang Mo Kio GRC, told TNP: "Those (of the) affected units and occupants are being assisted with temporary housing."
On the neighbours' concern, Mr Ang added: "We attend to feedback and render interventions as best we can and within the means available to us."