3 injured in fire at Haig Rd block: 5 neighbours broke down door to save kids in burning unit

Fifty residents were evacuated from a Housing Development Board (HDB) block after a fire broke out at a unit in Block 4, Haig Road last Saturday (July 29) after 7pm. 

During the incident, five residents worked together to break down the metal gates of the affected 11th-floor unit, saving two children who were trapped within, reports Shin Min Daily News via Lianhe Zaobao

The Straits Times reported that the police asked residents between the 8th and 13th floor to evacuate their flats at around 7.30pm.

A 64-year-old resident who stays in a unit opposite the affected one told reporters that his wife and grandson were going for a walk downstairs during the time of the incident.

When the two passed by the unit on their way to the lift, they noticed billows of smoke pouring out from within, and a boy was tugging at the metal gates, crying for help.

He said:

“My wife immediately came back and told me about the situation. 

“My son, daughter, son-in-law, and I dashed out to help.

“A male neighbour also joined us after he saw what was happening. 

“Smoke was pouring out from the unit and the metal gates were locked.

“We took turns tugging at the lock.

“Under our combined efforts, the lock finally gave way and we got the boy out.”

The resident’s 21-year-old son said that there was another girl in the unit, but they were not able to get to her due to the intensity of the flames:

“The boy told us that his younger sister was in one of the rooms.

“The fire got bigger and it was getting smokier by the second.

“There was nothing we could do. 

“My sister found the child’s mother who was downstairs.

“ When she (the child’s mother) knew her daughter was trapped inside, she immediately ran in to get her daughter.”

In response to media queries, SCDF said it was alerted to the incident at about 7.20pm, and extinguished the fire, which was confined to the kitchen. 

One fire engine, two red rhinos, two ambulances, and one supporting vehicle were dispatched to the scene.

One woman was conveyed conscious to Tan Tock Seng Hospital, and two children to KK Women’s and Children’s Hospital.

The cause of the fire is under investigation. 

It is understood that the victims are a 35-year-old woman, her son, 5, and daughter, 4.

The conditions of the three have stabilised. 

The mother of two said that both she and her children had to be hospitalised due to smoke inhalation, and attributed the fire to something which caught fire in the kitchen. 

She also expressed her gratitude to her neighbours for helping her children, as they did not have the keys to the gates. 

She added:

“When I returned to my house, there was so much smoke.

“The neighbours all told me not to go in, as they were afraid that there would be an explosion, but I knew I had to do it for my child, even if I died.

“I’m very grateful for my neighbours’ help.

“If they had not intervened, the consequences could have been dire.”