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12 Oct 2015 - 1 killed in Tanjong Kling factory fire

Fire Accidents Singapore Fire News Singapore

SINGAPORE: One person was pronounced dead at the scene following a laboratory fire on Monday morning (Oct 12) at Tanjong Kling Road, off Pioneer Road, the Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF) said.

The deceased is a 30-year-old woman, who had just returned to work after maternity leave. She also received her Singapore citizenship a week before the incident. Her newborn daughter is just six months old.

Seven people were sent to hospital with injuries including lacerations, smoke inhalation and burn injuries, according to the SCDF. Two of the injured were taken to Ng Teng Fong General Hospital (NTFGH), while five others were brought to the National University Hospital, SCDF said.

Mr Aaron Loh, Communications Manager at Jurong Health - which manages NTFGH - told Channel NewsAsia that both of the injured are in stable condition.

A few explosions were heard at the scene, which houses welding, gas and safety company Leeden National Oxygen.

The cause of the fire is being investigated.

CEO Steven Tham said that about 10 emergency response staff were sent to fight the fire before SCDF arrived. He said the company does not know exactly when the injuries and death occurred.

He added that he heard that someone had banged his arm on a glass door in order to get into the laboratory and fight the fire.

Among those sent to NUH is 55-year-old operations executive Nelson Poh. Mr Poh is among 20 staff trained to handle emergency situations including firefighting. He is said to have been been trying to contain the fire for about 10 to 15 minutes before he blacked out.

SCDF said Mr Poh had prevented the situation from getting worse because some 200 metres away from the burning lab is a building which stores various gases. Mr Poh is now in this hospital for inhaling too much smoke.  

"I would say what he (Nelson Poh) and his colleague did was really courageous, because when the fire broke out before the arrival of the SCDF, they went to action immediately to try to contain the fire which they succeeded," said Manpower Minister Lim Swee Say in a doorstop interview at NUH.

"So just now when I talked to him, I'm relieved to say that he was in stable condition, his family visited him and I think they were relieved that he was in a stable condition, but his body at the back suffered some bruises, and parts of his body got burned as well," added Mr Lim.

Four fire engines, two Red Rhinos, two fire bikes, eight support vehicles and four ambulances were despatched to the scene at about 9.30am, SCDF said.

Upon SCDF’s arrival, the fire had engulfed a laboratory measuring about 7m by 5m, in close proximity to a production and storage area. SCDF immediately deployed four water jets to contain the fire within the laboratory and prevented it from spreading to the nearby flammable cylinders storage area.

SCDF personnel equipped with breathing apparatus sets also conducted search operations within the premises.

At 1.03pm, SCDF said in a tweet that the fire had been extinguished. When Channel NewsAsia visited the scene at about 1pm, the fire had been put out and there was no more smoke.

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