SINGAPORE – His apartment was in flames but he refused to leave.
He even tried to brave the fire himself to go back in. All to save his cat, Felix.
“It’s part of our family,” the 38-year-old air steward, who wanted to be known only as Mr Helfi, told reporters.
According to the report, Mr Helfi had just returned home from a flight on Monday.
Exhausted, he fell right asleep. But he was awakened by the overpowering smell of thick smoke.
He immediately ran towards the source of the smoke – the kitchen – only to find it completely engulfed in flames.
He quickly checked the bedrooms and began shouting for help.
Mr Helfi said: “I did not know if my family was at home and I feared for their safety.”
Neighbors living in Block 124, Teck Whye Lane, told reporters that Mr Helfi lives in a 5-room flatwith his parents and three siblings.
At around 7.30 pm on Monday, they heard Mr Helfi’s shouts for help and immediately called the emergency services.
Mr Selvam Ramakrishnan, a 42-year-old service engineer who lives just four units away from Mr Helfi’s flat, stated: “The smoke covered the entire corridor and it was very difficult for me to breathe.”
Mr Helfi was home alone with his cat when the fire broke out and he became frantic.
Neighbors said that Mr Helfi was so worried, he tried to go back into the flat to save Felix.
But the smoke was too thick and he wasn’t even able to enter.
“He must really love his cat for him to do such a dangerous thing,” stated Mr Ramakrishnan.
Mr Helfi simply refused to leave the corridor. After much persuasion from the Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF) officers, he finally relented and waited by the void deck.
“He was crying very badly and he looked so pitiful,” Mr. Ramakrishnan went on to say.
Once the cat was brought to safety, Mr Helfi hugged it and frantically checked if it was hurt. He was also seen stroking and comforting Felix while he continued to weeping.
The cat was soon taken to a vet for a thorough check-up for fear that it had inhaled too much smoke.
When reporters visited the family yesterday, the cat was not around. The family had moved back to their five-room flat after a night’s stay at the home of Mr Helfi’s elder brother.
They declined to be interviewed at all.
Property officers from Chua Chu Kang Town Council visited the affected residents at 10.30am yesterday to assess all the damage.
An SCDF spokesman said that the fire was extinguished using one water jet. There were no injuries and investigations are ongoing.
There was no further word as to how the cat was doing.