Man found dead at foot of block while flat burns

A 53-year-old man, known for his generosity to children, was found dead at the foot of his Boon Lay HDB block in the wee hours of Monday morning as a blaze raged in his 10th-floor unit.

The Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF) was alerted to the incident at 2.15am and arrived to find Mr Lim Chin Eng lying motionless at the foot of Block 177, Boon Lay Drive.

Paramedics pronounced him dead at the scene.

Two minutes after the first call, the SCDF received another one in relation to a fire at the same location and firefighters arrived to find a 10th-floor unit in the 11-storey block on fire.

SCDF officers forced their way into the one-room flat to find a mattress on fire in the living room. There was no one in the unit at the time.

The Straits Times understands that Mr Lim had been living in the flat.

Ms Mona Yakub witnessed the horrifying fall. The 34-year-old shop assistant at a cybercafe in a neighbouring block told The Straits Times on Monday that she had heard an explosion from Block 177, rushed over, then saw Mr Lim flailing and landing with a thud. "I was totally shocked. It was a frightening sight," she said. She immediately told her colleagues to call the police.

Neighbours said Mr Lim lived alone and they knew him only as "Uncle". They said he was a generous man who would buy tidbits for their children and greet everyone with a smile.

"Once, he even gave my daughter $50 to spend," said housewife Sue Hoshim, 45.

A few of Mr Lim's family members went to the flat on Monday to retrieve his belongings. A woman, who declined to be named but identified herself as Mr Lim's sister, said she was made aware of his death yesterday morning. Her eyes teary, she said she did not know what could have caused his death.

The death is being investigated by the police, while the SCDF is investigating the cause of the fire.

In another incident, 67-year-old Joseph Tay was killed last Saturday morning after a fire broke out at his unit in Marine Crescent. He is survived by his wife, who was not in the flat at the time.

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