She had just finished breakfast after dropping her daughter off at school and was on her way home when she learnt that a fire had broken out at a pre-school opposite her home at Shelford Regency condominium.
"I could not get home because there were fire trucks and an ambulance, the entire Shelford Road was blocked," said the housewife, who wanted to be known only as Mrs Tan.
Her other daughter, 21, was still sleeping at home when the fire broke out at Pre-School By-The-Park on Shelford Road, near Watten Estate in Bukit Timah, yesterday morning.
The young woman woke up when her maternal grandmother, who was also at home, alerted her after smelling smoke and seeing a column of thick smoke billowing above the pre-school.
The fire had started on the first storey of the three-storey semi-detached house and had spread upwards.
A Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF) spokesman said it was alerted to the fire at around 6.50am.
It sent two fire engines, two Red Rhinos, one ambulance and two support vehicles and officers put out the fire within an hour using three water jets. SCDF said part of the pre-school's roof collapsed while officers were trying to put out the fire.
There were no reported injuries.
The Straits Times online reported that children usually get dropped off at the premises from 7am and classes start at 9am.
Residents of Shelford Regency were also evacuated and gathered at the condo's swimming pool.
Mrs Tan said residents were knocking on one another's doors to alert everyone about the evacuation.
The fire alarm also sounded.
"A resident who lives on the floor below mine knocked on my door and told my mother to evacuate," said Mrs Tan, who is in her mid-40s.
"I am concerned because this is the second pre-school fire incident that happened within 100m of my home," added Mrs Tan
The previous pre-school fire took place in 2012 at Carpe Diem Kids Academy on Watten Drive.
Another Shelford Regency resident, a 29-year-old maid who wanted to be known only as Ms Nesmelyn, said she saw the smoke at 6.45am.
She evacuated her employer's condominium unit with her employers and their five-year-old son when the fire alarm went off.
"I was afraid that the fire would reach our condo or that there would be an explosion," she said.
A man who lives in the house next to the pre-school said his unit was undamaged by the fire.
Employees from the pre-school declined comment.
This article was first published on May 18, 2016.
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