Massive fire in Singapore building, eight people taken to hospital
Eight people, including a Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF) officer, were taken to hospital with burn injuries and for smoke inhalation after a huge fire involving four shops broke out at Block 720, Ang Mo Kio Avenue 6 on Friday afternoon, 5 July 2019. SCDF fire fighters were seen trying to put out the blaze at the four-storey building, which has a mix of residential units and shops and is located right next to a hawker centre. SCDF said in a Facebook post that it responded to the fire at about 15h45. "Upon SCDF’s arrival, the raging fire had engulfed the ground floor of the block and was threatening to spread," it said, adding that "thick black smoke" was billowing upwards towards the residential units.
"SCDF quickly deployed its resources to surround the fire to bring it under control. Occupants of the block, including children from a nearby learning centre, were evacuated by SCDF and Police officers." SCDF said it deployed 19 emergency vehicles and about 60 firefighters to the scene. "At the height of the operations, 10 water jets and an unmanned fire fighting machine were used to mitigate the incident," SCDF said, adding that the fire was brought under control by 16h30.
SCDF paramedics were seen attending to casualties.
Eyewitnesses told local media that they got wind of the fire at close to 16h00. Jeff Goh, who works at a salon beside Block 720, said he heard a lot of shouting, which prompted him to leave the shop to investigate. The 36-year-old said he saw white smoke billowing out of a hardware shop, which sells items like paint and thinner, at around 15h50. "Within two minutes, this white smoke became black and the strong winds just made the smoke more intense," he said in Mandarin.
Similarly, property agent Daniel Goh said he was having coffee nearby with his friends when he heard people shouting at around 16h00. "When I looked up, I was wondering why the sky was so dark. And then I heard multiple explosions," said the 50-year-old.
Thick, dark plumes of smoke could be seen from as far as Anderson Secondary, which is almost 1km away.
Ang Mo Kio resident Prabagaran Priya Ganesh and his girlfriend Mageshwari Kamala Vickeshwari were shopping at the ABC discount store when they saw smoke coming out of the hardware shop. The fire started from the back of the shop, according to Prabagaran. "It was really small at first. Someone ran over with a fire extinguisher and managed to put it out," said the 30-year-old kitchen cleaning supervisor. Barely a few minutes later, the fire burst to life again and got bigger, he added. "We Indians have the fire walking ritual; the heat from this was more intense," he said, as he described how the fire started spreading to the front of the shop and even melted the shop's rain cover.
Nearby, a C K Department store patron and her friend were shopping when they saw one of the store's staff searching for a fire extinguisher. "Within a few minutes we started smelling very intense smoke," said a 25-year-old who wanted to be known only as Cheryln. When they exited the departmental store, they saw "a lot of people" running away from the hardware shop. Cheryln said the staff at C K Department store were "pushing items" away in a bid to keep the flames from reaching it.
Source: Today Online