Man shouts for tenants to run after setting fire to his flat

Man shouts for tenants to run after setting fire to his flat
PHOTO: Shin Min Daily

A man, who had been arguing with his wife on the phone, ended up setting fire to his flat.

One of his tenants and her 3½-year-old daughter were in the flat at that time.

The Saturday evening blaze destroyed the flat but, fortunately, no one was hurt.

The 45-year-old man was later arrested by police.

The dramatic events were recounted to The New Paper by the tenant's husband, who wanted to be known only as Mr Johnson.

The 29-year-old said his wife had told him that from their room, they heard their landlord arguing angrily with someone on the phone.

His voice was booming even with their room door closed and he spoke in Mandarin.

Then, it got all quiet.

About 15 minutes later, at about 7.40pm, smoke wafted into their room from the master bedroom.

Before they could figure out what happened, they heard frantic knocks on their door. It was their landlord, dressed in only his boxers, screaming: "Come out!"

Mr Johnson, his wife, also 29, and their daughter had just moved into the 12th-storey flat at Block 688A, Choa Chu Kang Drive, earlier that day.

Mr Johnson said: "When my wife called me about the fire, I quickly rushed home. I was working at a store nearby.

"I found my wife and daughter on the ninth storey. I made sure they were safe."


"My landlord was sitting at the stairs, crying," added Mr Johnson.

"I don't know what happened but my wife said he was quarrelling with his wife over the phone before the fire.

"He was crying and kept apologising. He said he had wanted to kill himself but got scared when the fire grew bigger."

Mr Johnson learnt from his landlord that "the fire got too extreme" and could not be put out.

The man had started the fire by burning bedsheets.

Despite Mr Johnson's probing, the landlord was tight-lipped about his problems.

"I asked him why he wanted to kill himself but he would only say that his wife is a stubborn woman and he would cry again," said Mr Johnson.

He then persuaded the landlord to go to the first storey.

Mr Johnson said the landlord and his wife used to be regular customers at the store where he has been working for about a year.

But he has not seen the wife since the start of the year.

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