SINGAPORE - A fire broke out at a Bukit Panjang coffee shop below a HDB block on Wednesday (March 16) morning, with the Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF) evacuating residents living on the second and third floors as a precautionary measure.
There were no injuries reported.
Eyewitnesses told The Straits Times that the fire at Block 257, Bangkit Road, which occurred at around 10.30am, started from an economical rice stall located in the right-most corner of the coffee shop.
Mr Lim Ah Chye, a dumpling noodles vendor from an adjacent coffee shop, said he saw a lot of smoke coming out from the corridor before hearing a loud explosion.
"All the store vendors and more than 100 people ran out in fear," the 58-year-old said, adding that the smoke billowing out from the fire reached six to seven stories high.
SCDF said it dispatched a fire engine, two red rhinos, three fire bikes, a support vehicle and an ambulance to the scene. The fire was extinguished within 20 minutes using two waterjets.
When The Straits Times visited the coffee shop in the aftermath of the fire, three stalls were seen badly burnt and covered in soot. There were burnt ducks hanging from a braised duck rice stall, while cutlery and half-eaten food were lying on the tables.
About 100 onlookers had gathered outside the cordoned area.
Mr Shui Poh Cheng, 65, whose prawn noodles stall next to the economical rice stall was badly damaged, claimed that the cause of the fire was due to the owner's negligence.
"He left a wok of oil on the stove and left to buy something," said Mr Shui.
The cause of the fire is under investigation.