Fire in Toa Payoh flat: Man says gas stove was turned off, yet mother sparked blaze while cooking

A fire at a Toa Payoh flat on Tuesday (Dec 5) has left many puzzled, with the cause of fire traced back to an attended stove despite the owner insisting that the gas had been turned off prior to the incident. 

The fire occurred at 9.15am in a unit at Block 227 Toa Payoh Lorong 8, where the man, Mr Lin, 50, stays with his 80-year-old mother, a dementia patient. 

Mr Lin told Shin Min Daily News that after his mother’s condition has been worsening since she was diagnosed with dementia two years ago, and she has forgotten to turn off the stove after boiling water four to five times just this year alone. 

He said: "To take care of my mother, I only work two days every week, and I recall shutting off the gas supply last week too to prevent her from cooking."

During the time of the incident, Mr Lin was away at work and discovered later that his mother had tried several times to light a fire, causing a fire after pressing the ignition button 10 times. 

Mr Lin said that his neighbour told him that his mother refused to leave the burning apartment at one point.

Fortunately, she was pulled to safety by the neighbour.

Surveying the burnt wreckage that was once his kitchen and living room, Mr Lin started weeping.

"After living here for over 40 years, one fire is enough to do this much damage. I don’t know how we are going to continue living here anymore.

"Just thinking about it makes me too stressed to breathe. I can only hide in my room and cry."

Mr Lin added that he has made arrangements for his mother to stay with his brother, while he stays behind to clean up the mess.

In response to media queries, a Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF) spokesman confirmed the case and said that the fire was put out using a compressed air foam backpack.

The cause of the fire is currently under investigation.  

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