'That's a million dollars in losses'

'That's a million dollars in losses'
Singapore Civil Defence Force officers put out the fire within 15 minutes using water jets.
PHOTO: The New Paper

He was working at his Geylang Road food stall when he heard two explosions.

Immediately, he wheeled around and saw thick, black smoke billowing from an electric bike shop, R R Motor, across the street.

Shortly after, he saw a woman on the roof of the smoky shophouse.

"I was frightened and afraid for what might happen to her. Everyone around me was worried for her safety," said Mr Siva Murthy, 31, a food stall assistant.

The woman was rescued by Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF) officers, who arrived at the scene soon after, he said.

The incident happened at about 9am yesterday.

Passers-by said they saw the fire break out at the bike shop, which was housed in a shophouse between Lorong 13 Geylang and Lorong 15 Geylang, moments after the explosions.

The explosions alarmed bystanders, such as Mr Faezz, an odd-job worker in his 40s.

"I was having my dinner when I heard an explosion. And then another one soon after that.

"I immediately got up and went to investigate, to see if I could help," he said.

When he rushed to the alley behind the electric bike shop, he saw a huge fire raging at the back of the shop.

He looked around, but could not see anyone inside the shop, he said.

Mr Thony Chai, 29, was in the area when he heard the explosions.

When he saw the fire, he whipped out his mobile phone and recorded the scene.

An SCDF spokesman said they sent a fire engine, two Red Rhinos, four supporting vehicles and an ambulance to the scene after receiving a call at 8.45pm.

Firefighters put out the fire within 15 minutes using water jets.

SCDF officers also did a search for people within the shophouse and found a woman on the fourth storey.

They helped her out of the building and found that she did not have any visible injuries.

Residents of the neighbouring shophouses also fled on their own before SCDF arrived, the spokesman said.

When The New Paper visited the scene at about 9.30pm, an acrid smell of burnt metal lingered in the air.

The shop's owner, who wanted to be known only as Mr Zhen, was seen pacing at a coffee shop near his shophouse, which had been cordoned off by the police.

He said he was at home when he received a call informing him that his shop was on fire.

"Everything is ruined. My bikes are damaged. That's a million dollars in losses for me," he said, before quickly making his way across the street to check on his shop.

SCDF is investigating.

This article was first published on Oct 8, 2015.
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