Fire at Marsiling Drive HDB block: Neighbour's act of bravery

Fire at Marsiling Drive HDB block: Neighbour's act of bravery

A fire caused smoke to fill the HDB block but instead of running to safety, she looked for her neighbour.

Housewife Zhu Yu Ling, 37, told Shin Min Daily News that she ran up eight floors from the ground floor, worried for an old woman who lives on the same floor as her and has difficulties walking.

She knocked on the door and when she didn't get a response, Ms Zhu ran to a nearby police station for help before rushing back to the unit.

The Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF) arrived soon after and rescued the old woman.

The fire at Marsiling Drive had started in a four-room unit on the sixth floor. It was reported that the home owner was burning egg cartons in an attempt to rid his bedroom of dust mites when the fire got out of control and burnt the master bedroom.

Ms Zhu said she noticed thick smoke in the area around noon and immediately thought of her elderly neighbour.

She told the Chinese evening daily: "The woman is in her 80s, and during the day, only she and her maid are at home. When there was no reply after I knocked, I was worried something could have happened to her."

When she went to the police station, she was told that the SCDF was already on the way. Still worried, she rushed back to her home, grabbed a wet towel to cover her nose and headed back to the old woman's unit.

Ms Zhu told Shin Min Daily News: "The block was filled with smoke. I knocked hard on the door, shouting to the maid to open the door, but it remained close.

"I had no choice but to run upstairs to the other units and tell them to evacuate."

An SCDF spokesman said it was alerted to the fire at 12.11pm.

A fire engine, a Red Rhino, two fire bikes and a support vehicle were dispatched to the scene. The fire was extinguished within 10 minutes using a water jet.

A woman in her 80s and a woman in her 20s were taken to Khoo Teck Puat Hospital due to smoke inhalation, the spokesman said.

Ms Zhu said although the situation was dangerous, she could not abandon her neighbour and flee on her own. When SCDF officers took the old woman to the ground floor, Ms Zhu ran up to her, hugged her and cried.

This article was published on April 6 in The New Paper.

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