SINGAPORE: A 48-year-old woman was taken to Tan Tock Seng Hospital after a fire broke out at a lift landing in Toa Payoh on Monday morning (Feb 12).
The Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF) said it was alerted to the incident on the eighth floor of Block 5 Toa Payoh Lorong 7 at about 8.30am.
The fire, which involved "discarded items", was put out with a compressed air foam backpack, SCDF added.
Police said they are investigating this as a "case of mischief by fire".
The woman, who Channel NewsAsia understands is a Toa Payoh resident, was taken conscious to hospital after complaining of breathlessness, authorities said. Another woman, who is in her 70s, did not want to be taken to hospital, they added.
The fire affected the power supply of four corridor lights outside the lift, said MP for Bishan-Toa Payoh GRC Saktiandi Supaat.
"Hopefully the town council can speed it up and make it work by the end of today. As for the lift, they will try to make it work as soon as possible," Mr Saktiandi added.
The lift was shut down by the lift operator when the fire happened, he said. When Channel NewsAsia visited the block at about 3pm, there were electricians installing new wire casings and rewiring the lights.
One resident who witnessed the fire, 78-year-old Madam Tan Boon Eng, said she heard a very loud explosion at about 8.30am.
"Even the next block they heard the explosion so I told my son to go and check. He saw the smoke, very smoky. After he checked and came back, he said: 'Mum faster go and change. It's very bad' and we went downstairs," Mdm Tan said.
Another resident Madam Teo Gui Liew, 80, said she saw the smoke from the fire from the corridor on the 10th floor. The block is designed in a long rectangular shape and comprises mostly one-room flats occupied by the elderly.
"The smoke was so black I couldn't see the end of the block from the middle [portion of the block]. It's happened so many times. Whenever I see discarded trash in the common areas of my floor, I cannot sleep at night until the people from the town council come to clear it. I'm afraid there will be fire overnight because it has happened before," Mdm Teo said.
"Sometimes if it's light and I can move it, I'll take it downstairs," she added.
NOT THE FIRST FIRE INCIDENT
Several residents Channel NewsAsia spoke to said that at least four fire incidents have happened in the past, and mostly involved discarded furniture or bulky refuse along common spaces like corridors or lift landings.
It usually happens when the occupants of the one-room flats move out of their apartment and have to clear it for the next occupant.
"It's like that down here. The elderly just anyhow chuck their furniture outside. A few days ago, I saw a few boxes of clothes in the middle lift. Half of the lift was blocked by the boxes. I saw it and I thought, 'my goodness, this one will cause havoc again'," Mdm Tan said.
"A few hours later, I don't know who removed it from the lift," she added.
Mr Saktiandi, who was at the block for a visit, said he is aware of fire incidents that have happened in that area.
He said that residents must make sure that when they want to dispose of bulky items or flammable refuse, they should be put in the proper place for disposal, such as the designated baskets. He also said that more could be done to make residents aware of fire prevention.
Some residents asked if more cameras can be installed in the block's common spaces.
"They should install some cameras here, at the lift. No cameras, only downstairs have. Lift also no camera. These are old blocks," said Mr Hussein.
On this, Mr Saktiandi said that he will work with the police to see if the cameras can be further enhanced at not just the affected blocks but also other blocks.
Police investigations are ongoing.