Warm floor alerts man to smoke-filled flat, unconscious neighbour
Warm floor alerts man to smoke-filled flat, unconscious neighbour discovered
Mr Soh Shen Chee, 47, and his wife had just returned home after shopping in Johor Baru.
The moment they stepped into the master bedroom of their three-room flat in Ang Mo Kio, they noticed that the floor felt "strangely" warm.
Mr Soh said: "The feeling (of the heat from the floor) was unusual, so something must have been wrong downstairs.
"I thought the lights downstairs might be overheating."
Curious, the ramp service man, who works at Changi Airport, decided to go downstairs and check.
Mr Soh lives on the 12th storey - the top-most level in the block.
His actions resulted in a life saved, as it was discovered that the neighbour in the flat directly below his had passed out in her living room, apparently from smoke inhalation.
The incident happened on Tuesday around 9pm at an HDB block at Ang Mo Kio Avenue 5.
Mr Soh called two other 12th-storey neighbours to ask if they too felt the heat, but they had not noticed anything in their flats.
"But we all smelt burning charcoal, like someone was having a barbeque," said Mr Soh.
"Lucky we decided to kaypoh (curious in Hokkien). If we waited another few hours who knows what might have happened (to the woman)."
Sensing something amiss, the three men went downstairs to investigate.
The door and windows of the flat directly below Mr Soh's were shut, and the curtains were drawn.
The smell of burning charcoal was coming from the unit.
Mr Soh said: "We tried knocking on the doors and windows, but nobody answered, so that's when I called the authorities."
They waited in the corridor, and the Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF) arrived shortly.
The SCDF and the police confirmed they received a call around 9pm.
Firefighters had to force their way into the unit where a woman was found unconscious in the living room.
The woman, believed to be in her 50s, was sent to Khoo Teck Puat Hospital.
Housewife June, who stays next to the affected flat, was only alerted to the incident when Mr Soh knocked on her door.
"(Mr Soh) came down because his floor was warm, but we didn't notice anything.
"We didn't even smell anything burning at first because our fan was turned on," said Madam June, who is in her 50s.
She said: "I tried to call out to her (from the kitchen window) but it was shut and nobody answered."
Neighbours said the woman, who lives alone in the flat, was friendly and would always make small talk.
They do not know her name but said her two sisters would visit often.
The woman, whom Shin Min Daily News identified as Madam Ho, later told the paper she had been burning some old photographs in her flat when she fainted after inhaling smoke from the fire.
She said she had shut her door and windows as she did not want the smoke to affect her neighbours.
When The New Paper visited Mr Soh's flat yesterday afternoon, the floor of the master bedroom still felt a little warm, some 20 hours after the incident.
Said Mr Soh: "Good thing I came back early from my trip. I had planned to take the 10pm train (back to Singapore), but decided to take the 7pm one instead.
"I also think it's good that we neighbours look out for one another and check up on each other when we think that something is wrong," he said.
Get The New Paper on your phone with the free TNP app. Download from the Apple App Store or Google Play Store now