His brother had difficulty walking, and a fire had broken out in the block.
Fortunately, his neighbours were kind enough to help his brother descend the stairs from the eighth storey to the ground floor.
Mr Melvin Tan, 52, and his family were at home on Monday night when the power suddenly tripped in their 10th-storey flat at Block 542, Hougang Avenue 8.
He lives with his elder brother, Mr Daniel Tan, sister-in-law, his daughter and his maid in the four-room flat.
Mr Melvin Tan, a financial planner, said: "My family was sleeping, but my daughter was doing her homework in the living room.
"I came out of my bedroom and could smell something pungent in the air."
He heard people outside shouting "fire", and immediately woke his family to get them to evacuate. He also knocked on the doors of his neighbours to tell them about the fire.
He bumped into the two sons of his ninth-storey neighbour in the corridor, and asked if they could help Mr Daniel Tan.
Mr Daniel Tan, 54, suffered a stroke about three months ago and has difficulty walking, reported Chinese evening daily Lianhe Wanbao.
He can walk with the aid of a walking stick, but uses a wheelchair because it makes moving around easier.
Said Mr Melvin Tan: "I asked my neighbours to help my brother while I ran downstairs to see if the area was safe.
"After I ran down, I ran back to the fourth storey and took over from there."
Mr Daniel Tan is grateful that there were residents to help him.
He said: "My neighbours offered to carry me, but I said no because I'm too heavy."
Instead, they supported him as he slowly made his way down the stairs.
Said Mr Daniel Tan: "I'm thankful that they offered their help to me during the evacuation."
A Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF) spokesman said they were alerted to the fire at 10.25pm. They sent a fire engine, a Red Rhino, two fire bikes, an ambulance and two support vehicles to the scene.
It is believed that the fire involved cans of paint that were placed in the switch room at the void deck.
NO ONE INJURED
The fire was put out using two water jets. No injuries were reported.
Ms Ang Wen Yan, 17, who lives on the second storey, had to clean up her flat with her family after the fire was put out.
She said: "The kitchen was the dirtiest as the smoke came in from the kitchen window. We forgot to close our wooden door as well."
Her mother, who did not wish to be named, told The New Paper that her family returned to their flat at around midnight.
She said: "We had to clean up the soot from the fire. My children have skin allergies and it would be dangerous for them."
Mr Daniel Tan said his family has been living in the block for the past 23 years, so he interacts a lot with his neighbours.
"When such incidents occur, they are willing to help without any hesitation," he added.
This article was first published on Oct 16, 2014.
Get The New Paper for more stories.