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Saved by doctor's appointment: Siblings narrowly escape Hougang flat fire

Two siblings recently narrowly avoided a terrible fate when their two-bedroom flat in Hougang burst into flames — while they were out for a doctor's appointment.

The fire broke out at about 1pm on Friday (Sept 29) at Block 376B Hougang Street 32, reported Shin Min Daily News. 

A resident surnamed Huang, who stays in the same block, told Shin Min: "There was black smoke and flames coming out from the unit. I also heard some glass shatter." 

When a reporter from Shin Min arrived at the scene at about 2pm, the fire had already been extinguished by the Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF).

However, there was still a strong burning smell in the air, and the area was also cordoned off. Several residents were also spotted loitering at the void deck. 

Huang showed Shin Min a video of the fire engulfing the entire living room. Black smoke was also seen billowing out of the unit's windows. 

The owner of the burnt unit surnamed Chen, told the Chinese daily that he and his sister had just reached home when disaster struck. 

"I just pushed my [wheelchair-bound] sister out of the lift. When we reached our doorstep we saw black smoke coming out of the unit, I panicked so we went downstairs. SCDF arrived shortly after," recounted the 62-year-old. 

Chen said he and his elder sister left their home at about 10am that morning, and had made sure to switch off most of their appliances. He added he wasn't sure why a fire could have broken out. 

50 residents evacuated from block 

Chen's neighbour, Nizan, told Shin Min that he was having lunch with his son at home during the incident. 

The smoke had blown into their home, and he realised that there was a fire when he looked out of the window. 

Worried that the smoke would trigger his five-year-old son's asthma, he quickly evacuated the boy to the void deck. 

Even though the fire was eventually put out, Nizan shared that his family is temporarily staying with other relatives as they are concerned about his son's health. 

Responding to AsiaOne's queries, the SCDF said they were alerted to the fire at about 1.15pm.

The fire involved contents of a unit on the second floor. SCDF extinguished the fire using one water jet and a hose reel. 

About 50 people were evacuated from the block. 

SCDF also accessed one person for smoke inhalation, and the person declined to be sent to the hospital. 

The cause of the fire is still under investigation. 

READ ALSO: Maid dies of smoke inhalation after elderly man starts fire

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