Two rescued in Punggol construction site fire

A fire broke out at a school under construction in Punggol on Tuesday, May 16 2017.VIDEO: FACEBOOK/PETER TAN
Residents in the nearby Housing Board blocks along Punggol Field Walk noticed thick smoke billowing from the site at about 4.30pm yesterday. SCDF said in a Facebook post late last night that the fire had involved contents on the site and damaged an a
SCDF officers rescuing the men trapped in a gondola at the Global Indian International School construction site.PHOTO: CHEGU THAMRIN/FACBOOK
Residents in the nearby Housing Board blocks along Punggol Field Walk noticed thick smoke billowing from the site at about 4.30pm yesterday. SCDF said in a Facebook post late last night that the fire had involved contents on the site and damaged an a
Residents in the nearby Housing Board blocks along Punggol Field Walk noticed thick smoke billowing from the site at about 4.30pm yesterday. SCDF said in a Facebook post late last night that the fire had involved contents on the site and damaged an area about 30m by 50m.PHOTO: PETER TAN

Duo trapped when fire broke out and cut off electricity to gondola they were in; no one else hurt

Two workers trapped in a gondola were rescued by firefighters in the midst of a blaze at a Punggol construction site yesterday.

The men were taken to Changi General Hospital to be observed for smoke inhalation, said the Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF).

No one else was injured.

An eyewitness told The Straits Times that officers from the SCDF's elite Disaster Assistance and Rescue Team rappelled down the half-completed building of the Global Indian International School and brought the two men to safety.

It is understood that they were stranded when the fire broke out on the Hon Industries' worksite and cut off electricity to the gondola.

SCDF said in a Facebook post late last night that the fire had involved contents on the site and damaged an area about 30m by 50m.

The fire was extinguished at about 5.30pm.

SCARY SCENE

There were huge, black clouds of smoke for about 30 minutes. It was scary and I even wondered if I should leave my flat.

MS PREETI KOTHARI, who saw the scene unfold from the living room of her 14th floor unit.

A Building and Construction Authority (BCA) spokesman said the fire was confined to the first storey and the site has been cordoned off.

She added that a professional engineer had inspected the site, and assessed the structural stability of the building to be unaffected.

By about 6pm, the smoke had dissipated although a part of the building was blackened by soot.

Mr Rasal, 32, a Bangladeshi worker with the construction firm, recounted how he had run downstairs from the seventh floor of another part of the worksite in fear.

"Other people followed. We didn't see the fire but when we smelled the smoke, we were very scared," he said.

Residents in the nearby Housing Board blocks along Punggol Field Walk noticed thick smoke billowing from the site at about 4.30pm.

"There were huge, black clouds of smoke for about 30 minutes. It was scary and I even wondered if I should leave my flat," said Ms Preeti Kothari, who saw the scene unfold from the living room of her 14th floor unit.

More than 200 workers later streamed out from the site to a field in front of her block, the 36-year- old housewife said.

A spokesman for the school, which currently has three campuses in Singapore, said its Punggol campus was scheduled to open early next year.

"The school... currently does not expect a delay in construction; it's working with the authorities to investigate the matter," she added.

The Ministry of Manpower confirmed yesterday that the two workers were rescued and the remaining workers accounted for. The ministry said it was investigating the incident.

BCA has instructed the engineer and builder of the project to submit a detailed investigation report of the incident and recommend rectification works.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on May 17, 2017, with the headline 'Two rescued in Punggol construction site fire'. Print Edition | Subscribe