Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF) wrote on its Facebook page that was alerted to a fire at 3.30 pm yesterday morning (1 August). They announced later that they have finally brought it under control after fighting with it for seven hours.
The fire took place on a large cargo barge berthed at Sembcorp Marine's Tuas Boulevard, on board the Elite Prosperity. SCDF cooperated with the Company Emergency Response Team (CERT) to handle the incident. Fortunately, there was no one on board at the time of the fire.
In total, SCDF dispatched 3 fire engines, 3 Red Rhinos, 2 firebikes, 1 ambulance, 1 Unmanned Firefighting Machine, 6 support vehicles and 2 Marine Firefighting Vessels for a fire involving a barge and approximately 70 SCDF personnel are involved in this operation.
SCDF stated that one of its officers had a minor injury, when hot run-off water and steam scalded his right leg, during the operation. He was taken to National University Hospital (NUH) by a SCDF ambulance.
The huge barge measures approximately 200m by 50m and the officers needed to conduct the interior firefighting operations within the barge. Extreme caution was exercised by SCDF as they had to face many challenges including narrow passage ways, poor visibility and especially the intense heat within the metallic decks.
The raging fire within the barge not only affected Deck 4 but it was deep seated burning in several cabins of Deck 3 too. Most of the internal wooden structure collapsed and this, along with pitch darkness through all the four decks of the barge amidst intense heat and manholes which needed to be avoided, has added the challenge to SCDF in entering these cabins to mitigate the fire. All of the firefighters were equipped with breathing apparatus set and armed with water jet.
By midnight, the fire was finally extinguised by the firefighters. After which, SCDF conducted its damping down operation. Damping down is a term used by firefighters in which to prevent the fire to rekindle from hot burnt surfaces, burnt surfaces are wet by spraying water at it, immediately after the fire is put out.