Fire at NUS Engineering Faculty building

Fire at NUS Engineering Faculty building

A fire broke out at the National University of Singapore's (NUS) Engineering Faculty last night - the third time in two years.

The Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF) received a call at about 10.15pm about the fire, which started at a sixth-storey laboratory in Block E4A, Engineering Drive 3.

Witnesses told The New Paper that there was an acrid smell in the air before they saw the blaze getting bigger.

An NUS researcher, who wanted to be known only as Mr Karan, 28, said he was in his office at a neighbouring block when the fire alarm went off.

He thought it was a fire drill, but realised it was too late at night and quickly got out of the building.

When he saw the blaze, he alerted the university's emergency response unit.

A third-year chemical engineering student, who wanted to be known only as Mr Ng, 22, said: "I heard that a girl left the workshop (in the laboratory) just 20 minutes before the fire. She was lucky.

"From where I was, I could hear pops and the sound of glass breaking."

Engineering student Tan Jia Ching, 21, said this was not the first fire at Block E4A because the laboratories are usually used by PhD students for electronic engineering experiments.

"I'm not surprised because this is the third time there's a fire here. (The students) usually leave their experiments running overnight, so it's possible that one of those caught fire," he said.

A maintenance worker, Mr Monir, 30, confirmed this. He said the computers and air-conditioning systems in the block are left running 24 hours a day.

When TNP arrived shortly after 11pm, firefighters were hosing down the fire and stopped only after midnight.

HOSPITAL

An SCDF spokesman said two people were taken to the National University Hospital for smoke inhalation.

TNP understands that they are a student and a security guard.

The SCDF said a total of 10 vehicles - two fire engines, two Red Rhinos, two fire bikes, two ambulances and two support vehicles - were sent to the scene.

Five water jets were used to put out the fire.

In August 2012, four men were hurt in a fire that was believed to have started at a laboratory belonging to the Solar Energy Research Institute of Singapore. The blaze took close to five hours to put out.

In October that year, a smaller blaze started at a neighbouring building. It was put out in 10 minutes.

This article was published on April 5 in The New Paper.

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