A fire broke out last night (15 December) at [email protected] mall on the mall’s fourth floor causing the entire mall to be closed until today afternoon.
Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF) said that the fire involved the contents of a store room inside a shop of the shopping mall. It also said that it was alerted to the fire at 10.25pm.
SCDF said it deployed two fire engines, two red rhinos, two fire bikes, an ambulance and five support vehicles to the scene.
One of the customers, Conrad Chua, said that he was having a dinner with relatives at a Chinese Hotpot Restaurant when midway through the meal, the fire alarm rang briefly then stopped. However, he wrote that no announcement was heard over the PA system.
Mr Conrad then asked the waitress if they should evacuate the building, the waitress said it is still ok to stay. He wrote,
He wrote, “We asked the waiter if there was a fire and she said yes, the swimwear shop on the same level had caught fire!!!
Fifteen minutes after the alarm rang, food was still served and they even made orders while still asking the staff the situation. Again, the staff assure them that it was still ok.
However, another staff said that the fire was getting bigger. Therefore, Mr Conrad went outside to look for information where he saw two SCDF officers ran inside the building and shouted loudly to ask everyone to leave the building immediately.
Shocked and alarmed, everyone including staff and customers, started to scramble for the exit. Outside, they could see how smoky the whole interior of 313 Somerset was as everybody ran down the escalators from the 4th floor to the first as fast as they could, through smoke curtains and the roar of the emergency exhaust fans.
When Mr Conrad was outside of the restaurant, he then realised that the emergency announcements were audible outside but not within the restaurant.
He commented on his video, “On the whole, rather shocked and disappointed that 海底捞 staff were more concerned about closing up the bills for as much tables as they could rather than the safety of its customers. Amazing part was they were handing out charcoal face masks while we were eating and also to all customers as we evacuated. We paid for our meal (they actually charged wrongly) and didn’t get to finish our meal and left still hungry. Glad that it wasn’t serious in the end and kudos to our Home Team for responding so quickly!”
One of Instagram users, Arifin Iskandar, wrote that he was having a dinner at one of the restaurants when he was asked to leave. He posted the video when he was asked to evacuate the building.
Fortunately, no one was injured.
A woman was injured when she slipped and fell by the time she was trying to evacuate was taken to Singapore General Hospital.
According to SCDF, the fire had been extinguished by 11.25pm, using one water jet, as well as water sprinklers in the mall that were activated.
The cause of the fire is still under investigation.
Terry Xu, who is the Chief Editor of TOC and former fire safety engineer noted, “It is common for buildings to have false alarm with their fire alarm system. However, due caution has to be given when it comes to ensuring that there is follow-up check with the building administration on whether the fire alarm is a false alarm or a real fire incident.
Noting the comment by Mr Conrad, one has to also ask if the building administration silenced the fire alarms without checking the cause of the trigger. It would be ridiculous and illegal if the fire alarm was put to silence, knowing that there is in fact a real fire detected in the building.
The fire alarm bell should be turned off only after it is certain that all occupants have left the building and accounted for.”