SINGAPORE - A fire broke out in Ang Mo Kio on Friday afternoon (July 5), with smoke billowing above nearby Housing Board flats.
In a Facebook post at 4.42pm, the Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF) said that the fire broke out at Block 720 Ang Mo Kio Avenue 6.
Mr Matthew Ng, 18, told The Straits Times that he saw smoke coming from the area at around 3.50pm.
The smoke could be seen from the student's home in Ang Mo Kio Central 3 and had dissipated slightly by 4.15pm, he said.
Ms Melanie Heng, 24, who lives on the 12th floor of a nearby block, told ST that she did not hear any explosions or see any flames.
The fire looked to have come from a shophouse unit, the undergraduate added.
In an update at 4.59pm, SCDF said that the fire involved the contents of shops on the ground floor of the block, and the fire was raging when officers arrived at the scene.
In a final update at 7.03pm, SCDF said a total of 19 emergency vehicles and around 60 firefighters were deployed to the scene.
Ten water jets and an unmanned firefighting machine were used to control the blaze at the height of operations, SCDF said. The fire was brought under control by 4.30pm.
Eight people, including an SCDF officer, were taken to hospital due to burn injuries and/or smoke inhalation.
ST understands that four shops - a paint shop and three units operated by myCK - were involved in the fire.
Occupants of the block, including children from a nearby learning centre, were evacuated by SCDF and the police.
HDB said in a Facebook post on Saturday morning that all occupants of the 16 shops and 28 residential units in the block were evacuated.
In its final update, SCDF said that damping down operations, to prevent potential rekindling of fire from hot burnt surfaces, were ongoing.
In a Facebook post on Friday evening, Dr Koh Poh Koon, an MP for Ang Mo Kio GRC, said that temporary housing has been prepared for those affected by the fire.
HDB has been contacting home owners to inform them of the temporary housing, he said.
The police have also set up a temporary reporting point, which will be manned through the night, in front of #01-4054 at Block 713 Ang Mo Kio Avenue 6 for residents with queries.
Town council cleaners are on standby to assist with clearance work when it is safe to do so and the Merchants and Hawkers Association is working with stall owners if support is required, Dr Koh added.
"I have spoken to some of the affected residents and hawkers to assure them that we will continue to monitor the situation and render the necessary assistance to those affected by the fire," he said, thanking the SCDF and police officers who attended to those affected by the fire.
SCDF will be present at the site through the night to monitor the smouldering from the fire, he added.
Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, who is also an MP for Ang Mo Kio GRC, said in a Facebook post that he was relieved that the fire has been put out and assistance rendered to those affected.
"Please continue to look out for each other, and my thanks to all who came forward to help," he said.
"We hope those who are injured will recover well too."
HDB said on Saturday that an independent professional engineer had been appointed to inspect the block and assess that it is structurally safe.
"We will carry out more detailed checks once the debris and soot are removed in the affected units. Meanwhile, we will continue to render all necessary help to the affected households and shopkeepers," the agency added.
A video taken from Block 700A Ang Mo Kio Avenue 6 around 4pm showed that the smoke had risen above the flats at Block 720.
In the earlier post, SCDF said that SGSecure mobile app users, M1, StarHub and Singtel mobile subscribers within the immediate vicinity of the fire would have received an advisory message urging members of the public to stay away from the area.
SCDF is investigating the cause of the fire.