Boy, 8, was home alone when laundry hanging outside catches fire

SINGAPORE - The eight-year-old was alone at home when a towel and a blanket hanging outside the kitchen window caught fire.

The incident happened at a two-room HDB flat at Teck Whye Crescent around 3pm on Friday.

When he failed to put the fire out, the boy shouted for help.

Hearing his cries, his neighbour, Mr Ambalagan, 41, a car washer, ran out of his house to see what had happened.

"He was crying. I saw a lot of smoke coming from the kitchen, so I called the police," said Mr Ambalagan.

While waiting, he held on to the boy's arm through the front gate, trying to calm him down.

"I wanted him to stay at the door be-cause I was worried the smoke would affect him," he said.

He told The New Paper that less than five minutes later, eight firemen arrived.

"When they got here, the fire had died out. The smoke was also clearing slowly," he said.

The firemen told the boy to look for a bag belonging to a parent, hoping to find some way of contacting them. House key

The boy found his mother's handbag, which contained the key to the flat. Rescue officers used the key to let the boy out safely.

Meanwhile, another neighbour, who wanted to be known only as Ashhry, 16, came out of his flat to see what the commotion was about.

Ashhry, a relative of the boy, lives on the floor below.

Mr Ambalagan, recognising him, called him over and explained what had happened.

Ashhry then took the boy down to his flat on the fourth storey to keep an eye on him as his mother was still out.

"I sometimes babysit him when his parents are out, so it's no problem," he said.

The Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF) confirmed that on their arrival, the fire was no longer burning, and that there were no injuries.

SCDF's annual statistics from 2012 reveals that more than half of fires last year were caused by "dropped light", including cigarette butts, charcoal embers, lighted incense sticks and even match sticks.

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