Golden Mile tenants frustrated by extended blackout

Some of the businesses did not get their power supply restored till early yesterday morning. Some businesses operated in the dark.

No air conditioning. No power. No customers.

The fire at Golden Mile Complex on Wednesday saw a major power outage that left some businesses in the dark and in the red.

Power supply was restored to most businesses there at around 11am on Thursday, but not to all.

The 24-hour Nana Thai Restaurant, popular among clubbers in the Thai discos in the complex, got its power back only at 4am October 3 2014.

At least 10 other businesses were similarly affected and opted to close or operated in the dark, aided only by flashlights or candles, as The New Paper saw during a visit to the complex on Thursday evening.

Nana Thai Restaurant owner Siridon Pheeiraphon said the blackout had cost him "thousands of dollars in losses". He could not open for business and had to throw away produce that had gone bad without refrigeration.

The 45-year-old Thai national said through an interpreter: "I am angry that it took the management so long to restore power to my restaurant.

"The other side of the building had power restored in the morning while we are here still waiting.

"Our meats and vegetables went bad because the refrigerator could not work without power. We had to throw them away and that costs money.

"When customers walk in, we have to turn them away because we can't cook. Meanwhile, my 16 employees and I have been sitting here, hoping for electricity to be restored so we can resume our business."

Mr Pheeiraphon said he was also frustrated by the lack of answers from the building management. It did not respond to queries from The New Paper by press time.

At least five business owners told TNP that they had been informed by the building managers that power would be restored to all units by 11am on Thursday.

FRUSTRATING

A mobile phone accessories dealer, who declined to be named, said: "For those of us who opted to remain open, it has been frustrating.

"We were not given regular updates and there were no customers because this place is dark and stuffy without air-conditioning," But moneychanger Mohd Elias, 52, said he was not upset "because it is a rare occurrence and we will wait for an explanation from the building managers before we decide to take any action".

The fire is believed to have started at around 4pm in an electrical room on the first storey of the 41-year-old building on Beach Road.

While there were no serious injuries reported, witnesses described the situation that day as chaotic.

The Singapore Civil Defence Force said it was alerted to the fire at around 4.30pm. By the time it arrived, 200 people in the building had made their way out.

Its officers had to prise open the doors of a lift to rescue two women while five other people in another lift were freed by a technician. Some businesses resumed business despite the blackout after the fire was extinguished.

Lianhe Wanbao reported that employees of the tour bus companies continued working from the pavements outside the building, attending to the many people travelling to Malaysia by coach.

Important to find out how fire started

When your business is disrupted by a fire in a building, who is liable?

What legal options are available if you want to claim for your losses?

Lawyers told The New Paper that in any leasing agreement, the building management has a duty to the tenants to maintain the common property and make sure the utilities are functioning.

In the case of the Golden Mile Complex fire, lawyer Choo Zheng Xi from Peter Low LLC said any form of compensation for the tenants "will depend on the terms of their lease with the landlord".

Lawyer G. Dinagaran from Prestige Legal said it is important to find out how the fire started on Wednesday afternoon.

He said: "If the fire is caused by negligence on the part of the landlord, then the shop owners can sue the landlord for compensation."

If someone was responsible for the fire, business owners at the complex can also sue the person, said lawyer Satwant Singh.

"For now, what the business owners can do is to try to claim from their insurance company," he added.

When contacted yesterday, a Singapore Civil Defence Force spokesman said investigations into the cause of the fire are ongoing.


This article was first published on Oct 4, 2014.
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