Just as she was rolling up the shutters of her electronics store at Sim Lim Square on Thursday, employee Carine Lee heard an explosion.
Then came the screams.
The commotion seemed to be coming from the Chinese restaurant opposite the store.
Then Madam Lee, 50, saw the boss of The Rice Bowl restaurant shouting frantically for help.
Next to her was one of her cooks, who was flailing his burnt arms in pain. A fire had broken out there at about 10am.
"I panicked when I saw her shouting. I couldn't see the fire but I was still scared to get closer," said Madam Lee, who has been working at Future Electronics Technology for more than two years.
From the entrance of her store, Madam Lee caught glimpses of the restaurant's kitchen, which was covered in thick, black smoke.
Before she could go any nearer, the fire alarm went off and water shot out of the restaurant's sprinklers.
Madam Lee said: "The boss and her workers quickly closed the shutters to prevent the fire from spreading. And the building management came up to help the injured man."
She added that everyone tried to run out of the mall and about 40 people had gathered outside within five minutes.
A Singapore Civil Defence (SCDF) spokesman said it received a call at 10.15am but the fire had been put out by the water sprinklers by the time the firefighters arrived.
A 29-year-old cook who suffered burns on his arms and face was admitted to Singapore General Hospital for further treatment.
"The cause of fire is still under investigation," the SCDF spokesman said.
Businesses came to a standstill for over an hour as shoppers were not allowed to pass through the cordoned-off area around the restaurant.
Another shopkeeper, Mr Koh Wah Tan, 57, said: "I am not too worried as the fire didn't look very serious. The matter was resolved within an hour so there was nothing to panic about."
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