First, a loud bang shattered the normal solitude of Sunset Place, a private residential area in Clementi. Then a two-storey bungalow was in flames.
Yesterday’s dramatic fire, which neighbours suspect was caused by a lightning strike, did not leave anyone hurt, but left the inside of the house badly charred. The roof was also destroyed.
Dr Peter Tan, an 80-year-old retired surgeon, and his wife have been living there for more than 40 years.
Only his wife and maid were in the house at the time, but were seemingly unaware of the fire when it started.
Lawyer P. Jeya Putra, who lives in the area, said neighbours had tried calling out to them from outside the gates, but failed to get their attention. Foreign workers who were working at another house nearby then climbed over the gate to alert the occupants.
Another resident, who declined to be named, said the place was prone to lightning strikes. He pointed out a white rod atop the burnt house, describing it as a lightning rod. He added that his own home had been struck in 1992 and last year, leaving household appliances, such as a cordless phone, short-circuited.
The Singapore Civil Defence Force was alerted to the fire at 9, Sunset Place around 5.30pm. Two fire engines and a Red Rhino were among the vehicles sent to the scene.
When they arrived eight minutes later, the fire had engulfed the second storey, with flames shooting through the roof.
It took 20 minutes to bring the fire under control with three water jets. At 10pm, firefighters were still dousing the house with water.
By Audrey Tan, The Straits Times, November 2016