SINGAPORE - When he walked out to take a look, Mr Ling Wu Ming saw thick, black smoke billowing out of a 12th storey window which looked familiar.
It turned out to be his flat, which he shared with his wife.
"I went up and found my wife standing in the corridor, outside the flat," Mr Ling, 76, told The New Paper.
"So I quickly pulled her away and brought her downstairs."
The fire happened at Block 2, Everton Park, off Cantonment Road.
A Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF) spokesman said they received a call at 5.52pm about the fire.
"We dispatched two fire engines, a Red Rhino, two support vehicles and one ambulance," he said.
"The fire was brought under control within 30 minutes with two water jets."
The fire was contained within the unit. There were no reports of injuries.
Mr Ling said he did not know exactly what happened, but that the fire was likely caused by burning joss sticks.
"I've told my wife many times to stop lighting the joss sticks in the back room, and now look what happened," he said. Residents of the block said they were evacuated, but most had already made their way to the first storey before the authorities arrived.
Mr Marcus Seah, 22, a full-time national serviceman, said he was sleeping when the fire broke out. "I live on the sixth storey and only found out when my sister called me. I grabbed my dog and made my way down."
A resident of a neighbouring block, Mr Wong Yi Seng, 65, said he kept hearing strange popping sounds, and discovered it was from the fire when he came out to look.
"The fire was huge. The smoke was so thick it covered three units," he said.
Tanjong Pagar GRC MP Indranee Rajah was seen speaking to residents who had been evacuated from the block.
Asked where they were going to stay for the night, Mr Ling said they would probably stay with their daughter.
I've told my wife many times to stop lighting the joss sticks in the back room, and now look what happened.
This article was first published on December 12, 2014.
Get The New Paper for more stories.