Worker trapped in Sungei Kadut fire: 'I was ready to climb down to escape'
Seven trapped workers rescued
As fire alarms blared, four workers left their room and rushed through blinding smoke to get to a nearby balcony, as flames spread through the Sungei Kadut warehouse.
One of them, 40-year-old delivery man Aung Aung, told The New Paper that he thought of climbing down from the third-storey balcony to escape the growing fire if help did not arrive soon.
To his relief, Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF) officers came to their rescue within 15 minutes, said the Myanmar national.
The rescuers guided the trapped workers, along with three others who were trapped on the rooftop, through the staircase and out of the building at 65, Sungei Kadut Loop.
The fire then flared up and 80 firefighters took about three hours to get the blaze under control at the Winter International Group's showroom premises and furniture warehouse.
The aftermath of the blaze. PHOTO: SHIN MIN DAILY NEWS
Mr Aung Aung said he was asleep on a mattress in a room on the third storey after a late job when another worker woke him up after the fire alarms went off at around 5am yesterday.
The worker, who wanted to be known only as Mr Zhang, was sleeping in the same room as Mr Aung.
Some 80 firefighters took about three hours to get the blaze under control. TNP PHOTO: CHOO CHWEE HUA
He said in Mandarin: "I woke up and saw a lot of smoke surrounding him, so I gathered everyone and we rushed to the balcony, which is near the room.
"The smoke had already blocked our view, so everyone did not dare to do anything but to wait to be rescued."
The SCDF firefighters arrived shortly after they were alerted at 5am.
BLAZE: It took 80 SCDF firefighters about three hours to battle the early morning fire. All seven workers who were trapped in the building were safely rescued. PHOTOS: SHIN MIN DAILY NEWS
Acting as the initial ground commander, Warrant Officer 1 (WO1) Hadizul Adris, 41, who was one of the first to arrive at the scene, told TNP that when his crew got there, they saw four people waving from the balcony and another three from the rooftop.
There was also someone at the main entrance of the building, said WO1 Hadizul.
"He pointed (out) to us the four people who were trapped at the balcony and told us the way to go in to rescue them," he said.
The initial team set up a combined platform ladder and used two water jets to create a safe zone for the rescue.
WO1 Hadizul and his colleague then went up the stairs to rescue the trapped workers.
He said: "When I went up the roof, I called to the three people who were trapped, and they ran towards me and I brought them down."
He went to the third storey and called out to the people on the balcony.
"My firefighter led them down while I followed behind."
They acted in the nick of time, as the fire grew stronger, with flames shooting out of the roof.
Scenes caught on video show the blaze engulfing the building by 5.30am.
WO1 Hadizul said: "When I first saw the fire, and judging from the time and location, I knew that we had to be very alert and careful about how we went about doing things.
"This is the kind of situation we have trained for and my team did a great job."
When TNP arrived at the scene at about 8.45am, the fire had been contained and firefighters were dousing small pockets of fire within the building.
The rescued workers were sitting outside the building.
Asked why they had slept there, Mr Aung Aung, who has been working for the company for 14 years, said: "We worked late that night, so I was not able to head back to my dormitory in Tuas.
"We don't usually do this, but because of Deepavali, we were a little bit busier the past few days."
"We worked late that night, so I was not able to head back to my dormitory in Tuas. We don't usually do this but because of Deepavali, we were a little bit busier the past few days."
- Mr Aung Aung on sleeping at the warehouse
"I woke up and saw a lot of smoke surrounding him, so I gathered everyone and we rushed to the balcony, which is near the room. The smoke had already blocked our view, so everyone did not dare to do anything but to wait to be rescued."
- Mr Zhang
Workers trapped on rooftop
Seven people had to be rescued from a burning building in Sungei Kadut yesterday, said the Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF).
It said it was alerted at about 5am to the fire which later engulfed a three-storey warehouse and showroom at 65, Sungei Kadut Loop.
At the height of the fire, a total of 19 SCDF firefighting equipment, including two Unmanned Firefighting Machines, and 80 firefighters were involved in the operation.
The seven people trapped in the premises were rescued by the SCDF emergency responders and were attended to by its paramedics at the scene. They did not suffer any injuries.
Lieutenant-Colonel Michael Chua PHOTOS: SHIN MIN DAILY NEWS, SCDF
Lieutenant-Colonel Michael Chua, Commander of 4th SCDF Division, told the media that four of the rescued people were on the parapet of the third storey while the other three were on the rooftop.
He said: "My men were able to find a safe passage to bring them down to safety."
By about 7am, SCDF firefighters were able to confine the blaze to the building using seven jets. LTC Chua said SCDF officers continued to put out small pockets of fire some three-and-a-half hours later.
There were no reported casualties. Investigations into the cause of the fire are ongoing, said the SCDF in a Facebook post at 1.19pm.
The Building and Construction Authority said in a media statement that in the interest of public safety, it has directed the building owner to close the building until further investigations and works are completed.
This is the second big fire this year in the Sungei Kadut area.
In July, a fire gutted a two-storey warehouse in Sungei Kadut Crescent. Sixty firefighters took three hours to put out the fire, with no reported injuries.