Fire breaks out at Circuit Road hawker centre which has been closed until further notice

A Straits Times reader, who wanted to be known only as Mr Hu, said the owner of a beehoon stall behind the burnt stall arrived at 2.30am to open the stall. Upon noticing the fire, the stall owner called the police.
A Straits Times reader, who wanted to be known only as Mr Hu, said the owner of a beehoon stall behind the burnt stall arrived at 2.30am to open the stall. Upon noticing the fire, the stall owner called the police.PHOTOS: ST READER

SINGAPORE - A hawker centre in Circuit Road was closed for urgent repairs on Thursday (Mar 8) after a fire broke out at a food stall in the early morning.

Marine Parade Town Council (MPTC) said in a notice to patrons and stall holders that the food centre would be closed until further notice to facilitate urgent repair and repainting works.

MPTC said a total of 40 stalls were affected by the fire.

"We are working towards reopening the food centre progressively," said a town council spokesman.

The wet market stalls in the centre are, however, still open for business.

A Straits Times reader, who wanted to be known only as Mr Hu, said the owner of a beehoon stall behind the one that was gutted - which sold chicken rice - had alerted the police to the blaze.

Mr Hu said he had gone to the hawker centre for an early breakfast and saw fire engines and police cars in the area. Photos he sent to The Straits Times showed two police officers at the scene, which was cordoned off with police tape.

The Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF) said it responded to the fire at 89, Circuit Road, at about 2.50am.

"The fire was extinguished by the SCDF using one water jet and two compressed air-foam backpacks," said a spokesman.

There were no reported injuries, he added.

The cause of the fire is under investigation.

"We came quite early this morning and saw that the area was all burnt," one stall owner, whose stall was also damaged by the fire, told The Straits Times.

"The fridge is totally burnt, and the electricity and everything is cut off. I don't know when we can operate again."

Ms Tin Pei Ling, MP for MacPherson SMC, said the town council has agreed to pro-rate the service and conservancy charges for the hawkers, based on how long their stalls had to be closed. The town council would also be bearing the cost of repainting and repairs.

She added that it was unclear when the repair works could be completed as the owner of the chicken rice stall could not be contacted and his permission was needed for rewiring work to be done.

Some of the hawkers, who receive regular consignments of ingredients, have donated them to voluntary welfare organisations in the MacPherson area since they would not be able to operate, said Ms Tin.

"This fire has been unfortunate. What was commendable, however, was how the community came together to help," she said in a Facebook post.