Residents blocked from staircase escape due to fire at lift landing

This article is more than 12 months old

He was sound asleep last Saturday night when he was suddenly awakened by the shouts of his younger sister.

There was a fire at the lift landing next to his family's 12th-storey flat and thick, black smoke was already making it difficult to breathe.

The resident of Block 388 Yishun Ring Road, who wanted to be known only as Mr Lim, rushed outside to try to put out the fire.

The operations executive, 32, was joined by other neighbours, who pitched in to try to keep the flames at bay until the Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF) arrived.

"I was not scared at all, because the first thing I need to settle is my family," Mr Lim told The New Paper over the phone yesterday.

SCDF said it responded to the fire at about 11.15pm and extinguished it using a water jet.There were no injuries and the cause of fire is being investigated.

Residents told TNP that the fire had blocked off the sole escape route for those living on the 12th storey, as the only way to access the staircase was via the lift lobby.

Mr Adala, 48, said he was alerted to the fire when he heard neighbours from the opposite block yelling.

With no way to evacuate, he and his wife took some essentials and went over to a neighbour's house to wait for the firefighters to arrive.

"It didn't seem that bad when it was happening, because all I could see was the black smoke," the maintenance specialist, who also lives on the 12th storey, said.

"But the next day, after looking at the damage, I think it's scary that there was no other exit and we couldn't escape."

A spokesman for Sembawang Town Council (SBTC) said common areas such as the ceiling, floor, walls, corridor lights, lift door and roof access ladder were damaged due to the fire.

At the time of the fire, there were random items and two bicycles at the lift landing area.

Neighbours told TNP that a resident on the 12th storey usually left items there before selling them off to recyclers.

The resident, Ms Luo, 78, said that she leaves items there as her granddaughter did not like it when she kept them at home. Speaking in Mandarin, she said that the two bicycles were not hers.

The SBTC said it had advised Ms Luo on a few occasions not to leave items at the lift landing.

Its spokesman added: "The Town Council will further step up on our efforts in advising our residents (to keep corridors obstruction-free). Enforcement action will be taken against those who fail to heed our advice."