SINGAPORE - Ten workers suffered burn injuries from an explosion at an industrial building in Tuas on Wednesday (Feb 24).
In a statement posted on Facebook, the Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF) said that about 65 others in the vicinity of the blaze had evacuated before the arrival of firefighters.
The SCDF said it responded to the fire at No. 32E Tuas Avenue 11 at about 11.25am and took eight workers to Singapore General Hospital (SGH) for burn injuries.
Two workers were taken to Ng Teng Fong General Hospital (NTFGH) by their employer.
The address is that of Platinum @ Pioneer, an industrial development with 16 terraced factory units and a canteen housed in two buildings.
Videos of the incident showed about a dozen workers gathering outside on the ground floor of the premises as smoke continued to billow into the sky from the building.
Eight of them appeared to be injured, with significant portions of their skin peeling off. One of them was seen lying on the ground screaming in pain.
A spokesman for the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) said workers were carrying out work on an industrial mixer when the explosion occurred. She said MOM was monitoring the conditions of the victims and is investigating.
A Feb 16 post on the Facebook page of Soon Hock Group, the developer of the site, said there is an approved dormitory for 11 persons on the top floor of one of the buildings.
A spokesman for Soon Hock Group said it has sent a team down to conduct investigations.
MOM said there were less than 20 migrant workers staying on the site at the time of the explosion, and that separate housing arrangements are being made for the unhurt workers.
SCDF said that a unit in the industrial building was smoke-logged when firefighters arrived on Wednesday. They wore breathing apparatus to locate the blaze.
"The fire involved an industrial mixer in the affected unit and was extinguished with two water jets," the SCDF added.
The cause of the fire is under investigation.
The unit is registered to Shield+, a fire protection equipment supplier. But the occupier at the time was Stars Engrg, which is also the employer of the eight workers who were taken to SGH.
Stars Engrg is also in the business of fire protection.
When contacted, spokesman for Stars Engrg Mr Chua Xing Da, who is also the director for Shield+, declined to comment, saying that it was “not a good time to say anything”.
Mr Wong Wee Chiang, 45, who owns mechanical engineering firm P3 Project, said he heard an explosion at around 11am. His firm occupies the unit opposite Shield+.
Mr Wong said he evacuated with his staff from the building, but later discovered that two of his workers had been hurt in the blast.
He said one worker had burns on his hands and buttocks, while the other had been knocked to the ground by the blast.
He took both of them to NTFGH before the arrival of SCDF personnel.
There have been at least seven deaths from workplace accidents this month alone in what Senior Minister of State for Manpower Zaqy Mohamad has called an “extremely alarming” trend.
Four of the deaths happened in the first 10 days of the month.