100 evacuated from Wisma Atria after fire breaks out in shop

SCDF personnel and police officers outside Masterpiece Time & Jewels yesterday evening after a small fire broke out in the shop's ceiling. The police are investigating the cause of the fire.
SCDF personnel and police officers outside Masterpiece Time & Jewels yesterday evening after a small fire broke out in the shop's ceiling. The police are investigating the cause of the fire.ST PHOTO: LAU FOOK KONG

Around 100 people were forced to evacuate Wisma Atria shopping mall in Orchard Road yesterday evening after a small fire broke out in a watch store on the second floor.

The Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF) said the blaze, which was confined to a small area in Masterpiece Time & Jewels, was put out by officers using a water jet.

Four people were taken to Singapore General Hospital for smoke inhalation.

Witnesses saw smoke on the second floor at about 5.20pm.

A Masterpiece employee, who declined to be named, said: "We didn't see any flames, but there was smoke coming out from the air vent."

He believes the fire could have been caused by a short circuit in the electrical wiring in the ceiling, and added that there had been three workers in the shop at the time.

Shoppers and tenants were evacuated from the building as a precautionary measure shortly after the fire broke out, and were allowed back in at around 6.30pm.

'SMOKED' SANDWICHES

They all got covered in smoke so we can't sell them to customers.

MS LEE, an employee at Paris Baguette Cafe, on having to throw away about $1,000 worth of goods, including salads, pastries and sandwiches.

A 23-year-old employee at Paris Baguette Cafe, who wanted to be known only as Ms Lee, left the building after the fire alarm went off.

Ms Lee, who works opposite Masterpiece, said she and her colleagues had to throw away about $1,000 worth of goods, including salads, sandwiches and pastries: "They all got covered in smoke so we couldn't sell them."

Mrs Maria Cristina Pacayra , 46, who works at a boutique near the affected shop, had been doing a stock check when she heard the fire alarm.

"I wasn't sure if it was really a fire at first. But in the end I smelt smoke and went out," she said. "Luckily, none of our goods were affected."

The SCDF said it sent two fire bikes, two fire engines, two Red Rhinos, three support vehicles, and two ambulances to Wisma Atria.

A Wisma Atria spokesman said the mall is assisting the authorities with investigations.

There have been several small fires in Orchard Road this year, including one at Orchard Towers in August and others at Midpoint Orchard, Tang Plaza and Mandarin Orchard hotel in March.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 18, 2016, with the headline '100 evacuated from Wisma Atria after fire breaks out in shop'. Print Edition | Subscribe