SINGAPORE- Madam Lyn Kasman is glad that she did not take her asthma medication before going to bed.
If she had, she might have continued sleeping while her four-room Compassvale Walk flat in Sengkang, with her three children in it, was on fire.
The housewife woke up yesterday at about 1am after hearing a noise outside her bedroom, only to discover that the room opposite was burning.
Madam Lyn, 38, immediately roused her children, aged between five and nine, who were sleeping in her room and ran to her neighbour's house for help.
Her husband was at work then.
After her neighbours' attempts to fight the growing fire failed, the group rushed from the fourth storey to the carpark.
Said Madam Lyn, who had been taking pills for a week since an asthma attack on Jan 1: "I was lucky that I decided to stop my medication before I went to sleep on the night the fire broke out, or else I might not have woken up,"
Once she alerted them, her neighbour, Mr Omar Manojoh, 55, and his son tried to fight the fire with a towel and a pail of water.
But the flames, which were around 1.8m high, shot to the ceiling and caused the glass windows to break, Mr Omar recounted.
"That was when I realised we had to evacuate," he said.
Madam Lyn's husband, cargo handler Irwan Jasmin, 42, was working on his second job as a parking attendant in Punggol when he received the call from his wife.
"When my wife told me that the house was on fire, my first thought was that it was just a small one," he said.
But he was shaken by the scale of the blaze when he reached his block 10 minutes later on his bicycle.
"Thick smoke was coming out of the window and the stairwell. At that time, I was only thinking about the safety of my family," Mr Irwan recounted.
His fears were allayed when Mr Omar told him that his family was safe.
The Singapore Civil Defence Force was alerted to the fire at 1.01am and extinguished it 15 minutes after arriving at the scene.
There were no casualties.
Residents in the units surrounding the affected flat were also asked to evacuate and had to wait for about two hours before they were allowed to return to their homes.
The cause of the fire is still unknown.
Madam Lyn said the affected room was used for her children's tuition lessons and to store their belongings.
Mr Irwan's family is now staying at Mr Omar's flat until they can return to their own.
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