A pre-dawn fire that broke out yesterday in the void deck of a Housing Board point block in Toa Payoh left residents without electricity for most of the day and night.

The fire, which started among discarded items in the void deck at the 25-storey Block 14A in Lorong 7, also left residents without gas for about 10 hours. By about 10pm yesterday, one of the lifts was working and electricity was being progressively restored.

Bishan-Toa Payoh GRC MP Saktiandi Supaat said: “The workers are working hard to replace the wiring as 100 per cent of the wiring (in the void deck ceiling) is destroyed.

“The lobby lights are up. But the individual units will be ready around midnight, I was told by the town council, as the wiring replacement took some time.”

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A Singapore Power Group representative said gas was restored to the block at 2.45pm.

Insurance agent Hannah Tan, 50, was considering booking into a hotel for the night if the electricity was not back on. “My parents are elderly, and if they walk around the house in the dark and fall, it can be really dangerous. I would rather be at a place with some light at least,” she said.

The fire started at around 4am, according to residents, damaging the void deck and covering the sides of the block with soot up to the fifth floor. When The Straits Times saw the block at about 10am yesterday, the ceiling and walls near the fire were badly burnt, with wiring and pipes exposed.

A Straits Times check of the block at 10am yesterday saw badly burnt ceilings and walls, with wiring and pipes exposed. Residents said the fire started among discarded items at about 4am, damaging the void deck and covering the sides of the block with soot up to the fifth floor. ST PHOTO: REVATHI VALLUVAR

Police evacuated about 50 residents from levels two to six at the block after the fire broke out. A woman in her 60s was taken to Tan Tock Seng Hospital for smoke inhalation.

Security guard Kumar Veera- samy, 52, said he was sitting in the residents’ corner diagonally opposite the fire at about 3am when he smelled smoke. He walked over and saw a sofa on fire. “There were some mattresses and stuff there too, and I started to move them away so they wouldn’t catch fire also,” he said.

Other residents walking past joined him in moving away some of the rubbish around the sofa before alerting the Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF), he added.

Retired businessman Henry Yeow, 70, said bulky items such as a sofa and mattress had been left at the void deck for two or three days.

However, when asked about this, a town council representative said conservancy workers had done a final check of the area at 6pm on Mondayand did not see any such items.

They could have been discarded after the workers had gone off for the day, the representative added.

He advised residents to call the town council for its free bulky item removal service and to throw away unwanted items instead of leaving them in common areas.

Mr Saktiandi said his main concern was the safety of the residents. He said: “It is unfortunate that this is happening near the Hari Raya period. It is just lucky it did not happen inside a house.”

The SCDF was alerted to the fire at 4.51am and it put out the fire in 10 minutes using dry powder and compressed air foam.

VIDEO Aftermath of fire at void deck. str.sg/4EUw

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