SINGAPORE - Ms Lindy Ong had just woken up when she heard the sound of items dropping from the unit above hers. Then, the housewife, who is in her 40s, smelt something burning.
"When I went to the balcony, I wondered why there was smoke. I looked up and saw that it was coming out continuously from my neighbour's home," said Ms Ong, who saw Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF) personnel at the scene.
She grabbed her mobile phone and left her house, knocking on her neighbours' doors before she made her way to the ground floor.
The Housing Board flat above hers had caught fire on Tuesday (May 3).
The SCDF said it was alerted to the incident on the 11th floor of Block 215 in Marsiling Lane 3 at about 11.25am.
About 20 residents were evacuated from the block, and there were no reported injuries.
The occupants of the flat were not home when the fire took place, and they were surveying the damage when The Straits Times visited in the afternoon. The entire living room of the flat in which the fire had broken out had been left charred.
The flat's occupants said they did not know of the fire's cause, but declined further comment.
The SCDF said it dispatched two fire engines, one red rhino, two fire bikes, one support vehicle and one ambulance to the scene. Its personnel had to force entry through the unit's front door to put out the blaze with a water jet.
Ms Ong said when she reached the ground floor, a crowd had gathered, watching as the blaze was quickly put out. The window of the affected unit had shattered from the heat, she said, and flames were raging out of the flat.
Ms Sum Balan, whose father lives directly above the affected unit, was there to pick him up to live with her for a few days.
He is worried, said Ms Sum, who is in her 40s and works in the IT industry, because the floor in his living room was still hot hours after the fire was put out. There is no visible damage in his house.
Ms Sharifa Shah, an immediate neighbour to the affected unit, said she thought that someone was praying when she smelt smoke after 11am. But it soon became pungent and she realised that something was amiss, and called the police.
"My first thought was to inform everybody that there was a fire," said the 65-year-old part-timer in the security industry, who knocked on doors on her way down from the 11th floor.
Residents waited for around 45 minutes before they returned to their homes.
This article was first published on May 3, 2016.
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