Fire at Punggol childcare centre, nearly 100 children safely evacuated

Fire at Punggol childcare centre, nearly 100 children safely evacuated
Fire broke out in a Child Care centre at Punggol End. Insert: Children being guided back to the back gates of the Carpe Diem Childcare Resort after the fire had been extinguished.

Ninety-five children, aged between three and six years old, yesterday fled a fire at their childcare centre with 14 teachers.

No one was hurt and the evacuation was smooth, thanks to twice-yearly fire drills and the clearly-identified safety route.

The youngsters evacuated to a holding ground not far from the Carpe Diem Childcare Resort at Punggol 24th Avenue near Punggol Point.

The fire broke out at 1.21pm.

A resident nearby, who wanted to be known only as Mr Huang, 65, had been resting at home when he noticed smoke.

The retiree alerted the Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF).

He said: "I hope the children were not hurt from the fire because there was a lot of smoke. The fumes could be dangerous."

The childcare centre is part of the Carpe Diem Group, which has 26 centres islandwide.

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At the holding area outside a nearby police post, teachers arranged the children in rows according to their classes while they waited for further instructions from the SCDF.

The childcare centre conducts two fire drills annually, with two evacuations routes for staff and children.

Teachers used one of the two designated exit points yesterday to evacuate everyone before firefighters arrived.

The childcare centre declined comment on the incident.

Mr John Giddens, 54, who lives nearby, noticed the fire engines and smoke fumes and quickly called his friend who had a child studying at the school.

"She was extremely worried when I called her, but after the news that everyone had been safely evacuated, she was relieved.

"She came down slightly later to take her son home," he said.

An SCDF spokesman said two fire engines, one red rhino, two firebikes, one ambulance and two support vehicles were at the scene.

The cause of the fire is still being investigated.


This article was first published on August 27, 2014.
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