It took the Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF) five hours to put out the blaze on Jurong Island on 20 April after an oil tank at a petrochemical facility caught fire. The fire was reported to have broke out at 23 Tembusu Road at 3 pm, involving an estimated 20,000 barrels of light crude oil in the tank. It was finally extinguished at 7.45 pm.
The SCDF reported that the oil tank, which measured about 40 metres in diameter and 20 metres in height, had buckled under the heat of the flames. The tank belonged to Jurong Aromatics Corp, and their in-house company emergency response team (CERT) was at the scene fighting the fire when the SCDF arrived. It was also noted that the light crude oil was not toxic.
The SCDF’s five-hour-long efforts included a large 6000 gallons per minute foam monitor and the setting up of a 100 metres by 150 metres bund wall to isolate the affected oil tank to ensure that the fire did not spread to neighbouring tanks. These surrounding tanks were all kept cool by ground water monitors and fixed drencher systems put in place.
In total, 5 fire engines, 3 red rhinos, 1 ambulance and 29 support vehicles were dispatched by SCDF to the scene of the fire. It took the work of about 150 SCDF personnel to put out the fire.
While a CERT member was treated at National University Hospital (NUH) for heat exhaustion, no injuries were caused by the fire. All staff at the oil plant had been evacuated immediately.
The cloud of black smoke from the fire could be seen from the mainland at areas such as Tuas. With the rainy weather in the afternoon on 20 April, it is suspected that a lightning strike could have caused the fire.
The images of the fire-fighting process from SCDF’s fanpage was shared more than two thousand times by netizens and earned them praises from practically everyone.