Woman, 54, dies after fire breaks out in building opposite IMM in Jurong East

Fire engulfs a furniture store opposite IMM.VIDEO: ST READER
The aftermath of a fire that broke out in an eight-storey building at 30 Toh Guan Road on May 4, 2017.
The aftermath of a fire that broke out in an eight-storey building at 30 Toh Guan Road on May 4, 2017.ST PHOTO: NG WEI KAI
The aftermath of a fire that broke out in an eight-storey building at 30 Toh Guan Road on May 4, 2017.
The aftermath of a fire that broke out in an eight-storey building at 30 Toh Guan Road on May 4, 2017.ST PHOTO: NG WEI KAI

SINGAPORE -  One person has died and 50 people evacuated from a building, opposite IMM in Jurong East, after a fire broke out on Thursday (May 4) morning.

A 54-year-old woman, who has been identified as Madam Neo Siew Eng, was unconscious when she was taken to Ng Teng Fong General Hospital. She was pronounced dead there. Police are investigating the unnatural death.

At 9am, the Singapore Civil Defence Force said that the fire, which affected an eight-storey building at 30 Toh Guan Road, had been mitigated with three water jets and was now under control.

Building management on Thursday afternoon told The Straits Times that the fire was mainly confined to the facade of the building and was quickly brought under control.

Mr Shane Hagan, chief operating officer and chief financial officer of Cambridge Industrial Trust (CIT) Management, said: "We understand that an employee of one of our tenants was hurt and has since died from injuries sustained in the fire. We are deeply saddened by this incident. Our thoughts and prayers are with the family of the deceased."

He added that they were working with the relevant authorities and the affected tenants to help resume operations. CIT Management is also working closely with the authorities to ascertain the cause of the fire.

Asked how long they expect the building to be closed for, CIT Management said it was working to get clearance for the building to be reopened.


Shattered windows and a burned exterior are seen on the building after the fire. ST PHOTO: NG WEI KAI

In an update on Twitter at 10.21am, SCDF said that the fire was extinguished within 40 minutes, and was confined to the facade of the building. It added that damping down was in progress.

Responding to queries from The Straits Times, SCDF said that it was alerted to the fire at around 7.38am.

Singapore Police Force staff who spoke to ST on Thursday morning said their forensics department would be entering the building. No one else has been allowed to enter the premises.

It added in its post that about 50 people were evacuated by SCDF and the police, and that a woman in her 50s had been conveyed to Ng Teng Fong General Hospital for burn injuries.


The charred exterior of the building that caught fire. ST PHOTO: ABIGAIL NG

Earlier this morning, the left and centre lanes of Toh Guan Road towards Boon Lay Way were closed, and that only the right lane was passable. The Singapore Police Force posted an update on Twitter at 11.09am to say that all lanes were now open to traffic.

Banta Global's security guard Rosalina Aman, 49, arrived at work at around 7.10am. Minutes later, a production operator called to say that there was smoke in staircase A. 

Sensing the heat and the smell of burning rubber, Ms Rosalina called the main guardhouse, then opened the gate only to see a big fire.

"When I saw the big fire I panicked and pressed the alarm," she told The Straits Times.

After she activated the alarm at 7.25am, the people who were inside evacuated to the carpark behind the building.

Another evacuee, who declined to be named, added: "Somebody was outside, they saw some smoke then came in and (alerted) everybody. So we all ran out by the back door."

Certis Cisco security guard for IMM Muhd Jalal, 58, said the fire started in the part of the building near Rozel Furniture, just above what appeared to be a sheltered walkway. After spotting the fire at 7.45am, he informed the fire control centre in his office.

He said that within five minutes, the fire had reached the roof of the building.


The overhead bridge leading to the building was cordoned off due to the blaze. ST PHOTO: ABIGAIL NG

One warehouse operator, who wanted to be known only as Azlyni, was on her way to work when she saw the fire at the building. She said that a woman, who looked Chinese, was carried out at around 8am.

Said the 29-year-old: "I heard it was an administrative auntie from my company. It looked like she had burns, mostly on her legs."

Photographer Suzi Sairi, 33, who has a studio in the building, said she took a taxi to work after seeing the video of the fire circulating online. She arrived at around 8.50am, but the management asked her to stay clear of the building.

"I hope the offices and my equipment are not affected," she said, adding that the part of the building that was burnt looked like it was near the staircase and toilets.

She said that most of the offices in the building begin operations at 8am or 9am, adding: "The cleaner auntie usually comes quite early, I hope she's okay too."

Some smoke was still coming out of the building at around 9.40am.

SCDF is investigating the cause of the fire.