Paya Lebar fire: Retiree thought fire call was a joke

Paya Lebar fire: Retiree thought fire call was a joke
BACK HOME: Madam Lau Tak Yin, 77, in her kitchen, where the fire occurred.

SINGAPORE - Her neighbour had told her that her house was on fire. But the retiree thought she was joking.

When she insisted it was true, Madam Lau Tak Yin began to worry.

"I was so frightened and nearly fell because my whole body was shaking," she said.

Madam Lau, 77, who was having her hair done at a nearby hair salon, rushed home and saw fire engines downstairs.

Terrified, she called her daughter on the phone.

Ms Lily Wong, 52, said when she got the call, she rushed over to her mother's flat with her family.

SCARED

"I was so scared because she was screaming and did not tell us if she was in the flat or not," she added.

The fire broke out yesterday at around 10am in the 10th storey unit of Block 121, Paya Lebar Way.

Madam Lau lives with her youngest son, Mr Andy Wong, 50, a tour guide. He was working overseas at the time.

Their neighbour, Madam Ng Beng Hwee, 58, who lives in a unit two storeys above theirs, was the first to notice the fire.

She told The New Paper: "I was resting in my living room when I smelled what I thought was smoke. I asked my husband to call 995 while I went to check on it.

"I saw smoke coming from inside the unit and knocked for very long, screaming 'Auntie, Auntie!' But there was no response, so there must have been no one inside."

Madam Ng, who works at Singapore Pools, was resting at a stairwell when she spoke to us, clearly fatigued after the ordeal. She had been nursing a high fever of 38.9 degrees.

Ms Wong said: "I have already informed my brother Andy about it, but the SCDF said he does not have to come back immediately."

She was told that as the fire had already been put out, there was no reason to get her brother to fly home earlier.

Madam Lau's second son, Mr Wong Soon Fatt, 52, believed it was an electrical fault that sparked the fire.

The technician said: "This has been our family home since 1980."

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