1 dead, 7 injured in Jurong factory fire rocked by explosions

An explosion occurred during a factory fire that broke out in Jurong on Oct 12, 2015. PHOTO: TWITTER/@ALIBABA_160194
Four water jets were deployed to contain the fire within the laboratory. PHOTO: SCDF
The aftermath of the laboratory that was on fire. PHOTO: SCDF
Four water jets were deployed to contain the fire within the laboratory. PHOTO: SCDF
SCDF vehicles parked at the premises of Leeden National Oxygen Ltd, where a fire reportedly broke out on Oct 12, 2015. ST PHOTO: ALICIA CHAN

SINGAPORE - One person died and seven others were injured in a fire that broke out on the premises of a gas manufacturing firm in the Jurong industrial area on Monday (Oct 12) morning.

In a press release issued at around noon, the Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF) said it received a call at 9.30am and dispatched four fire engines, two red rhinos, two fire bikes, eight support vehicles and four ambulances to 21, Tanjong Kling Road.

"Prior to SCDF's arrival, there was a fire and a few explosions were heard in the premises. The in-house Company Emergency Response Team (CERT) immediately located the fire, and conducted evacuation and firefighting operations," said SCDF.

"Upon our arrival, the fire had engulfed a laboratory measuring about 7m by 5m, in close proximity to a production and storage area."

Four water jets were deployed to contain the fire within the laboratory, while SCDF personnel equipped with breathing apparatus sets conducted search operations within the premises.

SCDF said one person was pronounced dead at the scene by paramedics, while five people were sent to National University Hospital and two to Ng Teng Fong Hospital.

The injuries they suffered ranged from lacerations to smoke inhalation and burns.

SCDF had first informed the public of the incident with a post on its Facebook page at 10.52am: "Warehouse fire happening now at Tanjong Kling Road. SCDF resources are currently on site. More updates coming up."

According to a Facebook post put up by community page Taxiuncle Group minutes later, an explosion had occurred.

It claimed that a "big scale of rescue work" was in progress and advised people to avoid the area.

Twitter user @Alibaba_160194 posted a 30-second video of the scene, which showed thick grey smoke emerging from what appeared to be a factory complex, followed by a huge ball of fire and the sound of an explosion.

Mr Steven Tham, 64, the company's chief executive officer, said that he heard two or three explosions at around 9.20am, after the fire had started.

He said that the in-house safety team responded immediately to the fire, and employees in the 4-acre facility were evacuated.

"I think those first responders who went to fight the fire are very brave," he said.

Facebook user Desmond Ching told The Straits Times that he could hear the explosions from where he was at near the Benoi Road area, at least 3km away.

The SCDF is investigating the cause of the fire.

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