Singapore — A fire affected the third, fourth and fifth floors of a building in Yishun on Tuesday morning (Jun 29), causing the evacuation of over 100 people.
Lucky for one neighbour, a brave domestic helper made sure that an 86-year-old woman with dementia left the burning building.
The Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF) said in a Facebook post on Jun 29 that it had been alerted to a fire at Blk 141 Yishun Ring Road at around 8.30 am.
The SCDF saw thick smoke coming from three storeys of the building, and was able to extinguish the flames with three water jets.
“The fire was confined within the master bedrooms, with smoke damage sustained throughout the three units,” said the SCDF.
It added that around 100 people living from the second to the tenth floors of the building needed were evacuated even before the SCDF arrived, and around ten individuals, including a Police Officer, were brought to Singapore General Hospital for smoke inhalation.
The cause of the fire has yet to be determined, but authorities are investigating the matter.
The outcome could have been much worse for one family whose mother suffers from dementia, who may have gotten confused. The elderly lady departed from her unit, but went back in and locked the door.
Fortunately, a woman working as a domestic helper nearby came to the elderly woman’s aid.
The employer of the helper spoke to Chinese evening daily Lianhe Wanbao that not only did the maid help the older woman, but she also told other neighbours living on the same floor that they needed to evacuate.
“She told me that the elderly woman had left the unit at first, but she later returned and locked herself in. My helper rushed back and banged on her door, asking her to leave quickly, before she finally opened her door and came downstairs,” the employer is quoted as saying.
The older woman was home alone during the time of the fire, Madam Papathi, 68, told the Chinese daily.
Law and Home Affairs Minister K Shanmugam, who is an MP for Nee Soon GRC, called the blaze “quite a major fire” in a Facebook post.
He added that he had gone to see the affected units himself, and saw that “the damage is severe,” adding that he was grateful no one had died in the fire.
Mr Shanmugam also wrote that the affected residents have been receiving help from the Residents’ Committee and that they were given a place to rest at the community centre.
“Our grassroots leaders have worked with HDB and Town Council to get temporary housing for the affected residents.
Tonight, they will have a place to stay. Agencies and grassroots will continue to help,” he added.
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