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Early-morning fire in flat claims man's life

RAZED: The study where the fire started. Doors and windows partially melted.


    Jun 11, 2014

    Early-morning fire in flat claims man's life

    A MAN in his 50s died after a fire broke out in his sixth-floor flat in Woodlands early yesterday morning.

    The Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF) said it was alerted to the fire in Block 788E, Woodlands Crescent, at 3.18am.

    When firefighters arrived, the fire had already gutted the study and living room, the SCDF said in a statement.

    The fire was extinguished within 20 minutes, and the family of three were rescued, but the man succumbed to his injuries later.

    The family was trapped in the unit by the fire, and two of them ended up on a window ledge.

    Rescuers found William Tan, 57, lying unconscious in a toilet and pulled him out of the burning flat.

    They found his wife, Chang Shiu Weng, and son, Jack Tan, standing on the window ledge outside one of the bedrooms.

    All three of them suffered from smoke inhalation.

    Mr William Tan died in hospital, Lianhe Wanbao reported.

    About 150 residents were evacuated from the affected block.

    The apartment was charred beyond recognition, with the doors and windows partially melted, Wanbao reported.

    When Mr Jack Tan, 23, and Ms Chang, 58, went to the flat after they had been discharged from hospital later in the day, there were still smudges of ash on them, according to Wanbao.

    They retrieved a family portrait from the apartment.

    The fire started in the study, Mr Jack Tan said. But by the time he discovered it, the flames were blocking the front door, Shin Min Daily News reported.

    He then woke his parents, and he and his mother went to the bedroom furthest from the fire.

    "My father went to the living room, I think to put out the fire, but he did not return," he said.

    Neighbours said they saw the mother and son shouting for help while clinging to the ledge, and SCDF inflated a large air cushion under the block.

    Neighbours urged them to jump. However, they did not jump and were rescued after the firefighters broke into the apartment.

    SCDF despatched two fire engines, two Red Rhino vehicles, two ambulances and four supporting vehicles to the scene.

    The cause of the fire is under investigation.