False ceiling collapses in SMU after water leaks from drainage pipe

The incident occurred at the basement of SMU's School of Information Systems at around 5pm.
The incident occurred at the basement of SMU's School of Information Systems at around 5pm.ST PHOTO: JONATHAN CHOO
When The Straits Times arrived at SMU at 5.40pm, there was a crowd cleaning up the site where water had spread across the corridor.
When The Straits Times arrived at SMU at 5.40pm, there was a crowd cleaning up the site where water had spread across the corridor.ST PHOTO: JONATHAN CHOO
When ST arrived at SMU at 5.40pm, people were cleaning up the site where water had spread across the corridor.
When ST arrived at SMU at 5.40pm, people were cleaning up the site where water had spread across the corridor. ST PHOTO: JONATHAN CHOO

SINGAPORE - A false ceiling at the Singapore Management University (SMU) collapsed on Tuesday (Oct 24) evening after water leaked through from a drainage pipe above it, but no one was hurt in the incident.

The incident occurred at the basement of SMU's School of Information Systems around 5pm.

An eyewitness who gave her name only as Ms Y, a 21-year-old student, told The Straits Times that she was inside a study lounge with a group of students when they saw water leaking from the ceiling at a section of the corridor beside the lounge.

"I think the pipe burst or something, and then the ceiling just collapsed," said Ms Y. "It made a loud sound (when it fell). When we tried to exit the study lounge beside the place, we saw that it was going to fall so we stayed inside and looked out of the glass door."

After that, cleaners arrived to clean up the mess as more water started to flood the floor, she said.

"We were shocked because we didn't expect this kind of thing to happen," she said. "We didn't really know what to do until security came in and asked us to leave (so we did)."

A spokesman for SMU told ST that the ceiling in a recess area in the basement fell, as water leaking from a draining pipe above it seeped through.

"Some of the water had entered a portion of the study area located next to the affected space," said the spokesman. "No one was hurt." 

She added that SMU's ground team responded immediately, cordoning off the area for safety reasons and clearing the water from the incident site swiftly.

The area where the false ceiling fell in was near a gym.


The false ceiling had fallen and pipes were hanging from the collapsed ceiling. PHOTO: ST READER

Mr Afiy Naz, a 25-year-old gym supervisor there, told ST that he ran out at 4.55pm after hearing a loud "bang".

"I saw parts of the ceiling had fallen, and the water pipes could be seen," he said. "There was a pungent toilet water smell. Luckily no one was coming out of the toilet or the student lounge."

He said the area was cordoned off by 5.15pm.

Building maintenance and administrative staff arrived soon after and helped to contain the water at the scene.

When ST arrived at SMU at 5.40pm, there was a crowd sweeping away water that spread across the corridor at the accident site.

Suction machines were also being used to clear up the water and pipes were hanging down from the collapsed ceiling.

The whole corridor was cordoned off, so students had to access the other end of the concourse via the library block across campus.

By 6pm, the corridor walkway was once again accessible.

SMU said it is investigating the incident and it has found that the structure of the surrounding area was not affected.

"Measures to rectify the area will be taken as soon as the investigations have been completed," said the SMU spokesman.