He was home with his wife when she noticed black smoke and the smell of something burning coming from below their Tampines flat.
Sensing something wrong, Mr Liew Kim Meng dashed downstairs and discovered his neighbour’s flat on fire. In the commotion that followed, the 56-year-old driver did not even realise that he was not wearing any shoes, and ended up getting cut.
The incident happened at around 10.20pm on 31 July at an executive mansionette at block 151 along Tampines Street 12. The fire is believed to have originated from a bedroom, Shin Min Daily News reported.
When Mr Liew arrived at the blazing flat, he was alarmed to find a young boy in the flat.
He said: “I saw that the fire was getting bigger and tried to get the boy outside, but he insisted that he would leave only after his parents have put out the fire.”
Mr Liew rushed back up to his flat to get a fire extinguisher, but someone in the blazing flat told him it was too small to put out the raging fire.
“I had no choice but to return home and take my wife to safety,” Mr Liew said.
A resident in the block, a 44-year-old engineer known only as Yadaraju, told the paper that the unit was occupied by an old couple, a young couple, a boy who is aged about five, and two dogs. The older couple were not home at the time of the incident.
As Mr Liew headed up to get his wife, he saw that one of the dogs was running upstairs as well, so he took the animal with him as he and his wife left the block.
It was after that that he felt some pain and realised there were cuts and burns on his feet, believed to have been caused by broken glasses at the burning unit.
The Singapore Civil Defence Force, who later arrived at the scene, said that no one needed any treatment at the hospital.
Later that night, Mr Masagos Zulkifli, Member of Parliament for Tampines GRC, visited the affected residents. He also encouraged them to buy fire insurance for their homes and to keep a fire extinguisher at hand in case of emergency. He was there for more than two hours and left only after arrangements have been made with the affected family. Numerous grassroots leaders were there to help the family find temporary accommodation and contact the relevant departments for help.