Firefighter injured in 7-hour operation to put out fire on cargo barge at Tuas shipyard

SCDF firefighters took about seven hours to bring the fire on the barge under control.
SCDF firefighters took about seven hours to bring the fire on the barge under control. PHOTO: SCDF/FACEBOOK
SCDF firefighters took about seven hours to bring the fire on the barge under control.
SCDF firefighters took about seven hours to bring the fire on the barge under control. PHOTO: SCDF/FACEBOOK
SCDF firefighters took about seven hours to bring the fire on the barge under control.
SCDF firefighters took about seven hours to bring the fire on the barge under control. PHOTO: SCDF/FACEBOOK
SCDF firefighters took about seven hours to bring the fire on the barge under control.
SCDF firefighters took about seven hours to bring the fire on the barge under control. PHOTO: SCDF/FACEBOOK
SCDF firefighters took about seven hours to bring the fire on the barge under control.
SCDF firefighters took about seven hours to bring the fire on the barge under control. PHOTO: SCDF/FACEBOOK
Smoke rising from the barge on fire.
Smoke rising from the barge on fire. PHOTO: SCDF/FACEBOOK

SINGAPORE - Firefighters from the Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF) on Monday (Aug 1) took seven hours to bring under control a fire that broke out on a large cargo barge berthed at the Sembcorp Marine shipyard in Tuas. 

The blaze, which involved the contents of a room in the 200m by 50m barge, was finally put out at close to midnight. 

A firefighter sustained a minor injury during the operation when hot run-off water and steam scalded his right leg. He was taken to the National University Hospital. 

About 70 SCDF personnel were involved, SCDF said.

It also deployed three each of fire engines and red rhinos, two firebikes, six support vehicles, two Marine Firefighting Vessels, an unmanned firefighting machine and an ambulance. 

SCDF first said in a Facebook post it was  alerted to the fire at 80 Tuas South Boulevard at around 3.30pm. 

There was no one onboard the barge at that time, and SCDF and the in-house Company Emergency Response Team initially combated the blaze using six water jets. 

In a series of Facebook posts throughout Monday evening, SCDF kept the public updated on its firefighting efforts both in and around the barge, which measured 200m by 50m.

The complex firefighting operation had called for SCDF personnel to cool the exterior of the barge while simultaneously conducting interior firefighting operations within it. 

"Firefighters have to exercise extreme caution in carrying out the operation due to many challenges such as the narrow passage ways, poor visibility and especially the intense heat within the metallic decks," it said in one of its posts. 

In its final post at 12.28am on Tuesday morning, SCDF said the fire was contained and brought well under control at around 10.30pm. 

"At the height of the operation, the raging fire within the barge not only affected Deck 4 but it was deep seated burning in several cabins of Deck 3 too," the post said. 

"As most of the internal wooden structures of the cabins had collapsed, this posed a severe challenge to SCDF firefighters in penetrating these cabins to swiftly mitigate the fire."

The cause of the fire is under investigation.