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Colin Tham
Saturday, Sep 20, 2014

Singapore

Mum rushes into burning flat to save cats

The Straits Times | Colin Tham | Saturday, Sep 20, 2014

The master bedroom of the house, burnt beyond recognition.

Her two-storeyed maisonette was on fire, so the mother and her five-year-old daughter quickly ran out of their house to safety.

But the woman suddenly remembered, to her horror, that her five pet cats were still in the house.

She ran back into the flat to save them and managed to escape unscathed.

The woman successfully saved four of the cats, but the fifth cat was motionless by the time it was carried out and was found to have died.

The incident occurred on Tuesday at 12.46pm at one of the blocks near Petir Road.

The fire had started in the master bedroom.

The woman's second son, known only as Mr Syabill, told Chinese newspaper Lianhe Wanbao that his mother loved the cats very much.

"Three of the cats prefer to stay in the living room downstairs and the other two are usually upstairs in the rooms," he said.

He said that it was a pity that one of the cats died.

"That cat was only about five months old. It probably died from inhaling too much smoke."

His mother and sister were taken to the National University Hospital (NUH) for smoke inhalation, but were unharmed otherwise.

Syabill said that he is working in the police force, while his brother, Mr Syazwan, 21, is in the Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF).

TOO LATE

"When we heard the news, both of us immediately rushed home. But by the time we arrived, the house had already been burned," he said.

Mr Syazwan told The New Paper yesterday: "I was in the middle of training at the Civil Defence Academy when I heard the news." He did not want to name his mother or sister.

When he arrived home, his mother and sister had already been taken away in an ambulance.

"I panicked when I heard that they were being sent to the hospital. I was so worried that they may have been seriously injured by the flames," he said.

He breathed a sigh of relief when he found out that they were unharmed.

But he was sad about the cat that did not make it out alive.

"We each 'adopted' a cat out of the five that my mum brought into the house. The young cat that didn't make it was mine," he said.

His mother had started bringing home cats since last June.

The family will be sleeping in the first-storey living room until the burned rooms upstairs are renovated.

The fire had melted even the window grilles.

"We suspect that the fire may have been caused by the air-conditioners in the three rooms upstairs," said Syabill.

SCDF said it was alerted to the fire on the second level of a mansionette unit.

The fire was extinguished using a water jet and no forcible entry into the flat was required as the occupants had evacuated themselves before SCDF's arrival.

Two people were taken to the NUH for smoke inhalation.


This article was first published on Sep 18, 2014.
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