Telok Blangah HDB fire allegedly claims life of maid in unit above burning flat

The domestic helper was admitted while unconscious to Singapore General Hospital and passed away shortly after.

Fiona Tan | January 30, 2022, 06:06 PM

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The fire that ravaged a flat at Block 39 Telok Blangah Rise on Jan. 29. has allegedly claimed a victim.

Mothership understands that the victim was Koimatun Achmad Ali, a 48-year-old foreign domestic worker. She also went by the name Emma.

Image courtesy of Chen.

Deceased was 48-year-old Indonesian foreign domestic worker

Mothership received this piece of news from Kevin Ho, a former resident in the same block and friend of the deceased, and subsequently confirmed it with the domestic helper's employer.

Emma resided in the unit on the 11th floor, directly above the 10th storey unit that was engulfed by the raging fire in the wee hours of Jan. 29.

Image from SCDF/Facebook.

Ho told Mothership that Emma was the sole occupant in the unit at the time of the incident.

The rest of the unit's inhabitants — namely Emma's employer, Mimy Chen, Chen's son and an adult tenant — are currently overseas. As such, Ho has been entrusted by Chen to oversee the matters following the freak accident and subsequent loss of Emma.

According to a Facebook update by the Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF) on the day of the fire, an unidentified 48-year-old woman was found lying unconscious on the floor after the attending firefighters forced their way into the 11th storey unit.

The firefighters rescued Emma and brought her to the lift lobby, where an ambulance crew, along with firefighters, performed cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) on her.

She was subsequently conveyed to Singapore General Hospital (SGH).

According to Ho, Emma succumbed to her injuries and passed shortly after 9pm on Jan. 29.

Emma's autopsy was conducted this morning, and Ho has engaged an undertaker to make funeral arrangements.

Ho also plans to collect Emma's body on Jan. 31, and repatriate her back to her family in Indonesia on Feb. 1.

When asked about the cause of death, Ho declined to answer, citing an ongoing court case.

The police gave the same reason when they declined Mothership's request to confirm that an Indonesian foreign domestic worker had passed on.

Sole breadwinner for teenage daughter and elderly parents

Ho was part of the group call that informed Emma's family of her passing.

According to him, Emma has a 17-year-old teenage daughter and is survived by her elderly parents, all of whom are in her hometown of Semarang in Java.

Image courtesy of Chen.

Chen told Mothership that since Emma was hired in 2018, she had not returned to see her family in the flesh because of work commitments and subsequently, the Covid-19 pandemic. Emma was entrusted to care for Chen's son who is currently in primary school.

Chen said that throughout Emma's four years of employment, she was a "hardworking, trustworthy, and reliable" individual, one whom Chen had grown to depend on over the years.

According to Ho, Emma had many friends in Singapore, and was well loved by the family.

Fundraiser for Emma's family

Chen also let on that the late Emma was the sole breadwinner of her family.

Thus, Ho has set up an online fundraising campaign to lessen the financial burden of the funeral expenses and the repatriation service on Emma's family.

Ho aims to raise a total of S$30,000. Those who wish to contribute can visit here.

73-year-old man arrested

A 25-year-old woman was found conscious during the same incident, and she was conveyed to the hospital for smoke inhalation injuries.

In a news release in the evening on Jan. 29, the Singapore Police Force said a 73-year-old man has been arrested in relation to the case for mischief by fire.

The man, who is an inhabitant of the 10th storey unit, was charged on Jan. 29. Police investigations are ongoing.

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Top image from SCDF/Facebook and courtesy of Chen