Flat on fire: Body of man found

The body of an elderly man was discovered by Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF) firefighters after they put out a fire at a Marine Crescent flat on Saturday morning.

The victim, who was in his 60s, was believed to have been partially blind and lived with his wife in the five-room flat at Block 27.

The SCDF received a call about the fire at 9.30am and arrived at the scene in three minutes, said a spokesman.

By then, the fire was already raging and eyewitnesses said they saw thick, black smoke billowing out of the windows of the 10th-floor unit.

Firefighters had to force their way into the flat to reach the fire, which had spread to the living room and two bedrooms.

Two fire engines, two Red Rhinos, an ambulance and three other vehicles were deployed to the scene.

It took the four teams of six firefighters about 45 minutes to put out the blaze.

The Sunday Times understands that the victim had a son, a daughter and three grandchildren, who visited the elderly couple regularly.

The last time they were at the flat was last Friday night.

The victim's wife was out when the fire broke out.

Some residents of the block said they were trapped and had to be evacuated by SCDF officers. "We couldn't get out because the smoke was so thick," said a resident who wanted to be known only as Ms Loke.

"So we just shoved wet towels under the door, prayed and waited in the room."

The 52-year-old, who lives diagonally opposite the affected unit, said she and her 80-year-old mother were evacuated by firefighters half an hour after the fire started.

Emeritus Senior Minister Goh Chok Tong, who is MP for Marine Parade GRC, was at the scene with other grassroots leaders to help residents affected by the fire.

"It is a tragedy," he said. He later posted on his Facebook page that a meeting will be held soon to learn how similar incidents can be prevented in the future.

Investigations into the cause of the fire are ongoing but resident Jenny Goon, who lives on the 17th floor of the block, suggested appointing a block representative to deal with such emergencies.

"There are so many elderly people living here," said the 80-year-old. "Having a representative who has everyone's numbers will be timely in such emergencies."

Get a copy of The Straits Times or go to straitstimes.com for more stories.

SERVICES