'If not for him, I would have died'

'If not for him, I would have died'
A fire broke out at a HDB flat in Havelock road, and was put out with the help of neighbours.

SINGAPORE - He was home watching TV at about 11.30am yesterday, when he smelled smoke.

It seemed to be coming from below his ninth-storey flat at Block 22, Havelock Road.

Mr P. Ganesan, 51, immediately rushed down floor by floor - from the ninth to the fifth - to look for the source. He was worried for his neighbours.

After some frantic knocking on doors, the school attendant found a fifth-storey unit on fire.

Inside, bartender Gilbert Lim, 34, was sleeping in the master bedroom, blissfully unaware that the fire that started from his altar had begun spreading through his living room. He had just completed an eight-hour shift, and reached home at 6am.

His wife, two kids - aged three and five - and his grandmother were not at home.

He said: "I normally work from 9pm to 5am and reach home at 6am, before sleeping six to seven hours in the day."

Mr Lim was so exhausted that he did not hear the crackling of the flames or smell the smoke that was enveloping his flat.

"I was already in a very deep sleep by the time."

Four storeys up, Mr Ganesan was on leave and watching TV when he smelled smoke.

Mr Ganesan said: "It smelled like wires burning, so I ran down and looked down every corridor to find the fire.

"Then I asked someone on the sixth storey to call the Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF).

"When I found the flat, I started banging on the door to check if anyone was inside, and shouted, 'Fire! Fire!'"

Mr Lim was alone as his wife was sending their kids to kindergarten, and his grandmother was out for a walk.

He said: "I was sleeping in my room, then I heard Mr Ganesan banging.

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