On July 29, 2017, fire broke out at a 11th-storey flat at Block 4, Haig Road, Singapore, at around 7 pm.
Neighbours rushed to the scene to find a little boy, presumably 5, crying at the door. They tried to break open the lock on the gate using a hammer, but in vain. Thankfully, they managed to prise open the gate, and free the boy.
The boy revealed that his younger sister was also trapped in one of the rooms.
Meanwhile, flames and thick smoke had made it virtually impossible to enter the flat. Neighbours even feared that the kitchen gas cylinder may have exploded.
It was then that the kids’ mummy returned to the unit.
Singapore mum runs into burning flat
She was advised not to enter the flat, but Madam Cynthia Liew still rushed through the blaze in search of her 4-year-old daughter. The unit was engulfed in thick smoke, and she apparently had to rely on her sense of touch to find her way.
The little girl was found in the bedroom finally; she looked calm but expressionless. She had suffered smoke inhalation.
Madam Liew felt uneasy as well, and she has been quoted by The New Paper as saying, “I was coughing and even fainted when I got out of the house, but thankfully, my neighbours and the police were there to assist me and my children.”
“I want to thank my neighbours for their help. Had they not reacted in time, I don’t know what would have happened.”
She is now being treated at Tan Tock Seng Hospital, while her daughter and son are warded at KK Women’s and Children’s Hospital.
It is admirable that this mum risked her own life to save her child. She told The New Paper, “My children are so young, I would rather perish than let them die. But they were braver and calmer than me, they did not make noise and kept quiet throughout.”
It is suspected that the fire started in the kitchen, and may have been caused by the washing machine socket.
About 50 residents from the block had to be evacuated during the fire.
Symptoms of smoke inhalation
It may come as a shock that it is smoke inhalation, and not burns, that is the number 1 cause of death related to fires. Smoke inhalation occurs when the victim breathes in the products of combustion during a fire. Carbon monoxide poisoning has been found to be the leading cause of death in smoke inhalation.
When a child inhales smoke, harmful toxins may get into the child’s body. Here are some possible symptoms:
- Minor problems include irritated eyes, coughing, and general weakness—which can turn into more serious symptoms later on, and hence, have to be observed.
- Continued wheezing and coughing
- Inability to breathe
- Ash, black char, or smoke around the mouth and nose
- Mental confusion
- Weakness and lethargy that could lead to unconsciousness
Caring for victims of smoke inhalation
- Call for help. Singapore emergency ambulance no is 995.
- It is important to drag the child away from the smoke and get him out into the fresh air.
- Have the child sit down until he begins to feel better. Cover him with a blanket.
- After coughing has subsided, offer a glass of water to calm a burning throat.
- Place a cool washcloth over his eyes and forehead.
- Check his breathing. Loosen clothes around the neck and torso to help breathing.
- If he is unconscious, turn his head to the side to prevent possible vomit from choking him.
- See a doctor as soon as possible for further assessment.
Also READ: 7 Fire safety tips that can save your life!
(Source and Image: The New Paper)