SINGAPORE – Firefighters forced their way into a burning Bukit Batok Housing Board flat in the early hours of Thursday (July 18) to rescue a man and a woman trapped in the fire, which was caused by two e-scooters.

In a Facebook post, the Singapore Civil Defence Force said that it was alerted to the fire on the 26th floor of Block 293D Bukit Batok Street 21 at 12.40am.

Firefighters, donning breathing apparatus sets, forced their entry into the unit and found a man unconscious with burn injuries, SCDF said. He was taken to Ng Teng Fong General Hospital.

A woman, who was also found in the flat, was taken to Singapore General Hospital for smoke inhalation.

The fire, which involved the contents of the living room, was extinguished using two water jets.

Bukit Batok MP Murali Pillai said in a Facebook post that the cause of the fire has been traced to two e-scooters. 

He also praised the “lion-hearted” volunteers from the Zone 12 Residents Network, who had quickly opened the Residents Network centre for the 70 plus evacuated residents to rest there. 

About 75 per cent of the affected block’s residents – or about 70 people – had to evacuate while the SCDF inspected the area’s safety, but most were able to return home by 3am, said a volunteer who requested not to be named. 

While being evacuated, an elderly man was injured and he was taken to Ng Teng Fong General Hospital, SCDF said.

Residents said the affected flat belonged to a couple who lived in the unit with a dog and a parrot. They had no children. 

When The Straits Times visited the flat on Thursday afternoon, the flat owner declined to speak to the media, stating only that it was a “very sad accident”.

Neighbours who spoke to ST said they were alerted to the blaze by a burning smell and commotion from the affected block. 

Resident James Ting said he had smelt “something burning” at about 1am. 

“We looked out and saw fire coming out of the living room window from the flat, and something fell out of the window, maybe a glass piece,” said Mr Ting, who is in his 50s and works in software development. 

His unit on the 23rd floor is in a block facing the affected flat, and he could see the fire very clearly, he said.

He also heard a “loud sawing sound”, likely to have been the SCDF sawing through a door, he added. 

“It’s my first time seeing something like that, so of course we were scared,” he added. 

Retiree Annie Chong, 67, who lives in the same block as the owners of the affected flat, said she was woken by the commotion several storeys above her. 

She did not evacuate from her home, although her children went to check on the fire, she said. 

“I was not scared of the fire, we have a fire extinguisher at home and we know what to do,” she said.

Noting that the affected block was about two years old, she added: “It’s such a waste, it’s a new flat.”