300 workers escape tyre fire

AROUND 300 workers escaped unscathed after a two-storey pile of tyres caught fire while they were asleep in their dormitory.

Colleagues raised the alarm, shouting "fire, fire!" after noticing the blaze at around 4am.

Heat from the burning rubber was so intense that it shattered a lorry's windscreen and blackened walls at Zen Tyres in Tuas Avenue 3.

Police and the Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF) were alerted and arrived to find thick plumes of black smoke. Six water jets were aimed at the blaze, which had started around a lorry and the stack of tyres on the ground floor. It was brought under control within 50 minutes.

Workers told Chinese evening daily Shin Min they were in a "deep sleep" on Wednesday morning when they first heard their colleagues' cries.

Some did not even have time to grab their mobile phones and wallets as they fled to safety.

A spokesman for SCDF said the workers managed to "self-evacuate" before its arrival and no injuries were reported.

A Zen Tyres employee who declined to be named told The Straits Times that business has resumed although there is still debris around the workshop floor.

"We are puzzled about how the fire started, but we are assisting in investigations and hope we will get the answers soon," she said.

The SCDF is investigating.

brynasim@sph.com.sg