Fire breaks out in Telok Blangah industrial unit where workers were roasting coffee beans

The fire broke out at the two-storey unit occupied by Chin Hup Coffee Trading Co. ST PHOTO: LIM YAOHUI
SCDF personnel conducting damping down operations after a fire in a unit at 4007 Depot Lane on May 10, 2022. ST PHOTO: LIM YAOHUI
An industrial coffee roaster caught fire at an industrial unit in Depot Lane. ST PHOTO: LIM YAOHUI

SINGAPORE - Fire engulfed an industrial unit in Depot Lane, in Telok Blangah, after a large coffee roaster was said to have suddenly burst into flames while workers were using it.

The incident on Tuesday (May 10) saw the Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF) deploy two water jets as protective curtains to prevent the fire from spreading to adjacent units.

About 20 people from neighbouring units at Block 4007 evacuated their premises before the firefighters arrived at 10.15am.

The fire broke out at the two-storey unit occupied by Chip Hup Coffee Trading Co.

Business listings show that the company, which was established in 1979, is a wholesaler of coffee, tea and cocoa.

An employee, Mr Lim Tiong Boon, 62, told The Straits Times that an industrial coffee roaster caught fire while workers were cooling coffee beans they had earlier roasted.

Mr Lim said that after the workers finished roasting the beans, they made sure to put out the heat.

While they were in the midst of cooling the beans, the roaster suddenly burst into flames at around 10am.

They tried to put out the fire but it was too huge, and it soon engulfed the unit.

The workers evacuated the workshop as soon as they could but some of them left their personal belongings behind in the rush.

Nobody was injured in the incident. The SCDF said investigation into the cause of the fire is ongoing.

Mr Lim said: "It was the first huge fire in our workshop, and we were helpless. We didn't even have time to take all our belongings with us, and our boss told us to prioritise our safety.

"Everything is burned... our workshop, three machines, the wok to cool the coffee beans, and more than 10 sacks of coffee beans."

Chip Hup Coffee Trading Co. owner Soon Sheng Chyn (second from left) and employee Lim Tiong Boon (right) outside the burnt unit on May 10, 2022. ST PHOTO: LIM YAOHUI

Madam Hadijah Sahak, the owner of Nur Nadirah Catering Service, which is next door to the affected unit, said her "kampung days" instinct kicked in immediately when she detected the fire.

The 66-year-old told her staff to turn off the gas cylinders in her shop, while she moved her car and two lorries away.

She said she was not supposed to be at work on Tuesday.

"We are not operating today, but I had a hunch to inspect my unit with my staff.

"I first smelled smoke and ran out immediately. I am the kampung type, so I quickly shouted to alert the other neighbours about the fire," said Madam Hadijah.

"I also tried to extinguish the fire with a hose, and thankfully, SCDF arrived very quickly. My shop is quite badly damaged - the roof is burnt, and the windows have shattered.

"Regardless, I am thankful for the firefighters' selfless work," she added.

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