SINGAPORE - A leak in a water-pipe led to the Wednesday night collapse of a portion of the false ceiling at JEM Shopping Mall.
According to its Facebook page on Thursday, the mall is closed "until further notice". OCBC Singapore also posted a notice on its page informing customers of the closure of its branch at the mall.
OCBC added in the post: "We’re not certain when the mall will re-open as repairs may take a few days. We’ll keep you posted!"
Site inspections by the Building and Construction Authority (BCA) engineers early Thursday morning revealed that there was a leak in the water-pipe and the weight of the water, which collected on the false ceiling, was a likely cause of the false ceiling collapse.
The BCA said that the structural integrity of the building is not affected.
Nevertheless, in the interest of public safety, BCA has ordered the building owner to close off the affected area and to get a professional engineer to check all the false ceilings in the mall and investigate the nature of the false ceiling collapse. The building owner has also asked its consultants to check the water pipes for any other signs of leakage.
Eye-witnesses who wrote in to citizen journalism website Stomp said that water gushed out from a pipe after the ceiling fell, causing the mall to be flooded.
One reader known as Jansen said that he was at JEM with a friend when they saw the ceiling crash to the first floor of the mall.
He said: "Thankfully no one was killed. I wonder why the ceiling collapsed and how safe the building is."
Another contributor, Ee Ming, said that flooding in shops occurred after the collapse. "One of the affected shops was Fossil," he said.
Shin Min Daily News reported that the closure affected 241 business owners.
A Japanese restaurant owner told the paper that he received a notification about the incident on Thursday morning, and managed to remove perishable food ingredients from the restaurant.
He told the Chinese daily that the restaurant is contact with the management to decide on when their business can re-open.
A manager of another restaurant at JEM said the restaurant will stand to lose about $6,000 daily.
Shin Min also reported that three women in their 30s were injured in the accident. They suffered cuts and bruises and were ferried by ambulance to the National University Hospital.
According to a spokesperson from JEM's developer Lend Lease, staff are investigating the incident and will announce the mall's re-opening once all safety measures are in place.