1 dead, 2 injured in fire at LPG facility in Jurong

SINGAPORE - A massive fire in a Jurong industrial area raged for more than two hours and triggered loud explosions on Friday (June 21), killing one and leaving two people injured.

The fire at 43 Jalan Buroh, which involved hundreds of highly flammable liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) cylinders of various sizes, was described by the Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF) as the largest LPG fire it had to combat.

The fire spread rapidly across the facility which was about the size of two football fields, triggering loud explosions. It took around 120 firefighters, who were alerted just after 5pm, to bring the blaze under control by 7.30pm and ensure that it did not spread to larger LPG storage tanks nearby.

The facility is occupied by Summit Gas Systems, a subsidiary of Union Energy Corporation, which distributes LPG cylinders to residential and commercial customers.

Colonel Anthony Toh, commander of the 4th SCDF Division, described the blaze as "raging and intense" when SCDF arrived.

"Our priority when we arrived was to contain the fire and prevent further spread, and to protect the two long LPG bullet tanks, each about 60 tonnes in size," Col Toh said.

Thirty-five emergency vehicles were deployed and, at the height of the firefighting operations, seven water jets, including an unmanned firefighting machine, were put into operation.

According to the SCDF, a man was found and pronounced dead at the scene by a paramedic. He was 43, police said. Two other men, aged 29 and 45, were conscious when taken to Singapore General Hospital. Both had burn injuries.

The cause of the fire is being investigated. When contacted, Union Energy declined to comment.

SGSecure mobile app users within the immediate vicinity of the fire would have received an advisory message urging them to stay away, said SCDF.

Boon Lay resident Linda Cheng, who is unemployed, told The Straits Times that she heard several loud explosions from her home around 5.20pm.

The 29-year-old took several videos of the area from which the sounds were heard, which showed thick smoke coming from a building in the distance.

There was also a strong burning smell in the area, she said.

"We thought the loud explosions were thunder, until we saw the thick smoke," Ms Cheng said.

Mr Anthony Tai, who works in the logistics sector, said he was at home in Yuan Ching Road, about 4km away, when he heard multiple loud explosions shortly after 5pm. "I could see large, dark smoke from my window on the 10th floor," said the 63-year-old.

A reader, who declined to be named, took several videos of the fire from 47 Jalan Buroh, which is located across the road.

There were people running out of the warehouse building when the fire started, he said.

Another eyewitness, who only wanted to be known as Mr Poh, told ST that he noticed the fire around 5pm.

"I heard about 10 to 20 loud explosions," he said, adding that the explosions stopped after a while.

The fire involved hundreds of highly flammable liquified petroleum gas cylinders of various sizes in an LPG facility. PHOTO: Shintaro Tay 
The scene at 43 Jalan Buroh at 10.20pm on June 21, 2019. PHOTO: Shintaro Tay

Photos circulating online showed the smoke could be seen from as far away as Jurong East, about 7km away.

Additional reporting by Zhaki Abdullah and Shintaro Tay

This article was first published in The Straits Times. Permission required for reproduction.