Men escape smoke-filled shop house unit through window
As thick smoke billowed out of the windows of the second-storey shophouse unit, two men emerged onto a sloping roof below.
Trapped for several minutes, the men, who were shirtless, were finally able to get down when fellow workers propped up a ladder.
In dramatic scenes at 85 Sims Avenue yesterday, Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF) firefighters went into the building's smoke-filled narrow passages.
They rescued one man from a bedroom on the second storey and he was taken to Tan Tock Seng Hospital for smoke inhalation. Four others had already evacuated.
In a statement yesterday, an SCDF spokesman said they responded to a fire at the unit at about 7.20pm.
Upon arrival, they saw thick black smoke coming from both floors of the shophouse.
"The fire, which involved contents of a bedroom on the ground floor, was extinguished with one water jet," said the spokesman.
Photos posted on SCDF's Facebook page showed firefighters at the scene against a backdrop of piles of durians.
One photo, believed to be of the bedroom on the ground floor, showed a gutted room with blackened walls and bed frames.
Dozens of passers-by had gathered nearby to watch the firefighters at work.
Witnesses said they saw a lot of smoke, but did not catch sight of any flames.
A worker from Sam Fruit Trading, which has a stall on the first storey of the building, said he was in the living quarters on the second storey with his colleagues when thick black smoke engulfed them.
The man, who did not want to be identified, said there were strange sounds just before he smelt smoke.
"I heard two loud popping sounds, then suddenly there was smoke, which gradually became a lot and filled the bedrooms," he said.
He added that he was able to escape with the help of his colleagues.
Investigations into the cause of the fire are ongoing.