About 100 people evacuated after fire at Tang Plaza; cause under investigation

SCDF hosing down the affected rooftop area after a fire broke out at Tang Plaza on March 15, 2016.
SCDF hosing down the affected rooftop area after a fire broke out at Tang Plaza on March 15, 2016.ST PHOTO: NEO XIAOBIN
SCDF hosing down the affected rooftop area after a fire broke out at Tang Plaza on March 15, 2016.
SCDF hosing down the affected rooftop area after a fire broke out at Tang Plaza on March 15, 2016.ST PHOTO: NEO XIAOBIN
SCDF hosing down the affected rooftop area after a fire broke out at Tang Plaza on March 15, 2016.
SCDF hosing down the affected rooftop area after a fire broke out at Tang Plaza on March 15, 2016.ST PHOTO: NEO XIAOBIN
SCDF hosing down the affected rooftop area after a fire broke out at Tang Plaza on March 15, 2016.
SCDF hosing down the affected rooftop area after a fire broke out at Tang Plaza on March 15, 2016.ST PHOTO: NEO XIAOBIN
SCDF hosing down the affected rooftop area after a fire broke out at Tang Plaza on March 15, 2016.
SCDF hosing down the affected rooftop area after a fire broke out at Tang Plaza on March 15, 2016.ST PHOTO: NEO XIAOBIN

SINGAPORE - A fire broke out at Tang Plaza along Orchard Road on Tuesday (March 15) morning, drawing hundreds of curious onlookers.

The blaze broke out just after 9am outside the third storey roof of the building, beside Lucky Plaza. No one was injured.

The Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF) said the fire was first spotted by a security staff of the building, who "immediately alerted the premises' Fire Command Centre".

The centre in turn deployed its in-house firefighting team - the Company Emergency Response Team, or CERT - for initial firefighting operations.

The SCDF received a call at 9.10am and later arrived with two fire engines, two red rhinos, two firebikes, an ambulance and three support vehicles.

The fire was extinguished by SCDF using a waterjet and two hosereels within 20 minutes.

About 100 people evacuated the building before SCDF's arrival, it said.

The cause of the fire is still under investigation.

When The Straits Times arrived at the scene around 10am, SCDF officers were still there examining the site. Streams of water were continuously dripping from the building's characteristic green roofs. Some burn marks were spotted on one of the roofs and the building wall.

An area between Tang Plaza and Lucky Plaza was cordoned off by the police, but that did not stop hundreds of passers-by from checking out the commotion.

Mr Mahendran Ramalingam, 32, the store manager of Tiong Bahru Bakery at Tang Plaza, said there was an announcement alerting them to the fire at about 9am.

"They said there was no emergency, and to just wait for the next instructions. It was only at about 9.45am that the police told us to evacuate."

Mr Mahendran said he only saw black smoke, but "not a lot". He added that customers at his cafe said they were scared and chose to take away their orders instead.

When asked about the incident, Tang Plaza's chief security officer Luke Tan said he "cannot confirm anything" at the moment, except that the fire was "localised".

"We hold fire drills often. All procedures were adhered to and everyone was taken care of," said Mr Tan without elaborating.