2 workers injured in Tuas South warehouse blaze

SCDF firefighters are fighting the fire with six water jets and an unmanned firefighting machine. PHOTO: SCDF/FACEBOOK

SINGAPORE - A blaze the size of about 1½ football fields at a warehouse in Tuas was brought under control by firefighters on Monday evening.

The fire engulfed an industrial building consisting of a warehouse and production areas, including a six-storey production unit. Two workers were assessed by a paramedic for blisters on their hands and foreheads but refused to be taken to the hospital. No other injuries were reported.

The Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF) was alerted to the blaze at 28 Tuas South Avenue 8 at about 6.15pm. A total of 26 emergency vehicles and about 80 personnel were deployed.

Colonel Goh Boon Han, commander of the 4th SCDF division, told the media that the fire involved solvents and flammable construction materials.

He said: "We had to surround the entire fire with eight water jets and one unmanned firefighting machine.

"We ascertained with the companies earlier that up to 40 of their workers had self-evacuated and were all accounted for, so we adopted a defensive firefighting operation so as not to commit our firefighters into the risk area for prolonged periods."

He added that the unmanned firefighting machine was used in the risk area, and because the roof was also buckling, it was a safety issue.

Col Goh said the firefighters brought the blaze under control within two hours.

Checks by The Straits Times online showed that the site is listed by manufacturer Sika Singapore as its head office. The company is a subsidiary of Sika AG, a speciality chemical company based in Switzerland that supplies the building and construction industry as well as manufacturing industries.

Migrant workers staying in the nearby dormitories said they detected an acrid smell from about 6.30pm.

Mr Nebaron Bormon Komol, 42, a worker from Bangladesh, said he could see the smoke from almost 2km away in Tuas South Avenue 4.

A video of the fire that he took at about 7.30pm showed thick black smoke billowing from the compound.

Another worker, who wanted to be known only as Mr Aminul, 49, from Bangladesh, said he was worried when he saw the large cloud of smoke, but came out of his dormitory nearby and headed towards the scene instead of away from it.

He said: "The smell was strong, but later the wind blew it away.

"I was quite scared, but I wanted to see what was happening."

At about 9pm, flames could still be seen from the middle floors of the building.

Videos on social media showed plumes of black smoke billowing from a blaze on the lower floors of a building that looks to be more than two storeys high.

Another video shows the fire engulfing the building.

The blaze, the size of about 1½ football fields, had engulfed an industrial building and a connecting warehouse. PHOTO: Facebook/Singapore Civil Defence Force

In a final update on Facebook at about 12.35am on Tuesday, SCDF said once the fire has been extinguished, firefighters will remain at the site to damp down the affected areas with water.

Damp down refers to the application of water to wet burnt surfaces immediately after a fire is put out. It is to prevent the potential rekindling of the fire.

Earlier in the evening, SCDF warned members of the public to avoid the area by sending a message through the SMS Public Alert System and the SGSecure app.

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