It was just after 7.30am yesterday morning, when workers arriving at 30 Toh Guan Road saw thick black smoke pouring out of the eight-storey building there.
Within minutes, one section of the building was in flames, with large pieces of burning debris falling off the facade.
About 50 people were evacuated by officers from the Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF) and the police from the building , located opposite the IMM mall in Jurong East.
But not everyone made it.
Madam Neo Siew Eng, 54, who worked on the fifth floor, died in Ng Teng Fong General Hospital, where she was taken to after sustaining burn injures.
"I saw a woman being carried out of the building at around 8am. It looked like she had burns, mostly on her legs," said eyewitness Azlyni, a 29-year-old warehouse operator who goes by one name. She was on her way to work when she saw the fire.
The Straits Times understands that Madam Neo, who worked in the quality and engineering management department of computer company Banta Global Turnkey, was found on the first-floor staircase closest to the entrance.
She was not breathing, and had no pulse. Paramedics administered cardiopulmonary resuscitation on the spot and while she was being taken to the hospital.
Mr Shane Hagan, chief operating officer and chief financial officer of Cambridge Industrial Trust (CIT) Management, which manages the building, said: "We understand that an employee of one of our tenants was injured in the fire and has since died.
"We are deeply saddened by this incident. Our thoughts and prayers are with the family of the deceased."
Security guard Rosalina Aman, 49, who worked for the same company as Madam Neo, said she raised the alarm at about 7.25am after a production operator called to inform her of smoke at one of the staircases.
When she went to investigate, she felt heat and smelled burning rubber. After calling the main guardhouse, she saw a big fire at the front of the building.
"I panicked and pressed the alarm," she told The Straits Times.
The SCDF and police said they were alerted to the fire at 7.38am.
The blaze was put out with three water jets within 40 minutes, said the SCDF spokesman, who added that the fire was confined to the facade of the building.
When The Straits Times reached the scene at around 9.30am, there was still smoke coming out of the building.
Photographer Suzi Sairi, who has a studio in the building, said the damaged portion appeared to be near the staircase and toilets.
"I hope the offices and my equipment are not affected," said the 33-year-old. "The cleaner auntie usually comes quite early. I hope she's okay too."
CIT Management said it is working with the authorities and affected tenants to ensure the smooth resumption of operations at 30 Toh Guan Road.
Asked how long they expect the building to remain closed, CIT Management said that it was working to get clearance for the building to be reopened.
The Building and Construction Authority said that the professional engineer appointed by the building owner has inspected and confirmed that the structural integrity of the building has not been affected.
Fire engulfs furniture store. http://str.sg/42bF