A fire breaks out in a Kitchener Road, and at least two people are brought to the hospital
As firemen from the Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF) battled the blaze in the 13th-storey flat, affected residents gathered at the foot of Block 2.
Madam Habi Aman, whose 84-year-old mother lives on the damaged block's 12th floor, was getting off a bus when she noticed occupants staring up at the thick, black smoke rising from a flat on the 13th floor.
"I believed it was my mother's home, so I hurried up 12 flights of stairs, utterly out of breath," the 61-year-old customer service executive explained.
"I called my mum on the way up, and she answered. She gathered her belongings and waited outside her apartment.
"A few minutes later, when I arrived at her unit, we received police orders to leave."
Madam Habi went on to say that the police assisted her mother in descending the steps as she carried her mother's wheelchair.
When their neighbor's apartment caught fire, Noor Jahan was at home with her daughter and four-year-old grandson.
"My sobbing neighbor told me there was a fire, so I immediately scooped up my grandson, closed my gate and door, and hurried downstairs with my daughter," the 58-year-old explained. "When I saw the flames, I was terrified."
"It was quite difficult to breathe," she continued.
Mr Farook Samsudin, 64, claimed he heard three or four huge booms and was alerted to the fire.
Fire safety is an essential component of both home and business safety. A fire can start anywhere and at any moment due to unanticipated factors such as a power outage, a short circuit, a cooking mishap, or a lightning strike.
It is everyone's duty to be safe in the case of a fire.
To be safe in a fire, experts recommend the following precautions:
If you are the first to come into contact with fire:
Don’t panic and call 995 for the SCDF.
Alert others about the fire and get everyone out.
If possible, close the door and shut the windows of the room where the fire is located to contain it. This ensures that the fire has a limited supply of fuel, heat and oxygen – essential components that keep a fire burning.
Turn off the gas mains (if you can reach it).
Get a fire extinguisher and try to put out the fire (if you can) but only do so without endangering yourself or others. To escape through smoke, stay as low as you can, face down and crawl on your hands and knees. Avoid moving through the centre of the room and stay close to the walls.
When escaping, always use the stairs and head to ground level. If there is smoke in the stairwell, stay put. Don’t go higher.
If you are trapped by the fire and cannot leave the building
Enter a safe room, preferably one with a window that overlooks a road.
Shut the door behind you but don’t lock it. Cover the bottom gap of the door with a blanket or rug to prevent smoke from seeping through.
If you have access to a phone, call 995 and inform the operator of your location, what is on fire and if there are others trapped with you.
If you do not have access to a phone, shout for help from the window. Never attempt to climb out or jump out of the building. Wait patiently until help comes.
Basic fire prevention tips
Knowing how to react in a fire can help safeguard your life and those of your loved ones. But preventing the outbreak of a fire is your best protection. Here are some ways to eliminate fire hazards:
Switch off all appliances and electrical outlets when not in use or before leaving your home.
In the office, shut down your computer and turn off the power switch when you’re leaving for the day.
Do not overload electrical outlets.
Install smoke detectors in your home to alert you to the presence of smoke.
Do not overcharge your mobile devices such as handphones and tablets by leaving them to charge overnight.
Never store combustible items/materials near heat sources.
Check for broken wires and exposed wiring and if you find any replace them.
Properly extinguish cigarette butts before throwing them into the rubbish chute.
Keep matches and lighters safely stowed away from children.
Keep a 1-kg dry powder fire extinguisher in your bedroom in case of emergency.
Purchase a smoke escape mask that can protect you from toxic smoke for up to 20 min.