Singapore—The neighbours of an older woman believed to be having dementia whose  fourth-storey unit at Block 446 Ang Mo Kio Avenue 10 caught fire on Tuesday, October 29, say that the blaze had been “an accident waiting to happen.”

The New Paper (TNP) reports that one of the elderly woman’s neighbours, who identified herself as Ms Bernadine, said she saw smoke coming into her flat at around 9:00 am, as she was just about to leave to go to work.

Ms Bernadine told TNP, “I saw the elderly lady outside her unit, panicking and knocking on neighbours’ doors for help.”

The older woman is said to live with her son, who was reportedly at work when the fire broke out.

She woke her nephew at once, and then called the police. Even while she was still talking to them on the phone, three explosions — one after another — occurred, stunning and frightening Ms Bernadine, who works as an executive assistant.

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She also told TNP that out of concern for the older lady, whom she would at times see walking around the building’s corridors in the nude, she had already written to the town council for assistance.

Another neighbour, 70-year-old Sarah Ambika, had also approached the authorities to appeal for help for the elderly woman, who is said to be in her seventies.

Ms Ambika noted that she saw fire hazards whenever she walked past the older lady’s flat.

“I saw stacks of newspaper and other hazardous items in her flat. She even burned candles on her water meter once,” she told TNP.

According to the Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF), “the fire that involved the contents of a kitchen was extinguished by SCDF using two water jets”.

The cause of the fire is still being determined.

About 40 residents of Block 446 Ang Mo Kio Avenue 10 were evacuated because of the fire, which thankfully, left no one injured.

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The residents who had to be evacuated have received help with finding temporary housing, said Ang Hin Kee, MP for Ang Mo Kio GRC.

Those (of the) affected units and occupants are being assisted with temporary housing,” Mr Ang said.

He also told TNP,” ”We attend to feedback and render interventions as best we can and within the means available to us.”

A common corridor shared by five units on the building’s fourth floor also sustained damages from the fire./ TISG