SINGAPORE - A huge blaze engulfed the coffee shop and wet market at Block 493, Jurong West Street 41, early Tuesday (Oct 11) morning, forcing about 300 residents from the surrounding blocks to be evacuated.
The Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF) said in a Facebook post it was alerted to the "raging fire" at around 2.45am, and dispatched three fire engines, four red rhinos, seven support vehicles and four ambulances.
It found the wet market and coffee shop at the block to be completely engulfed in flames and quickly deployed six water jets and an aerial monitor to combat the flames.
"At the height of the fire, the roof of the wet market collapsed and the exterior side wall of a coffee shop at Blk 494, which was directly facing the raging blaze, sustained fire damage," SCDF added.
The fire was extinguished by 4.15am and damping down operations were in progress.
An estimated 300 residents from the surrounding blocks were evacuated by police and SCDF officers, with residents progressively being allowed to return to their homes.
While there were no injuries, a woman in her 60s experienced breathing difficulties during the evacuation and was taken to Ng Teng Fong General Hospital.
Jurong GRC MP Ang Wei Neng, who visited the scene of the fire on Tuesday morning, told reporters that help was being rendered to affected stall owners in the wet market to either operate elsewhere or set up an alternative site nearby.
One option being explored is a newly built basketball court at Block 498, Mr Ang said.
He added: "The wet market's building structure does not appear to be safe, so it will take a while before they can access the area. The two coffee shops adjacent to the market are also unlikely to operate for now."
Staff from a seafood stall at the Block 494 coffee shop were spotted trying to salvage their seafood.
Mr Lim Kim Chal, who works at the stall, said the business had only been opened for a month. "We had spent $250,000 on equipment like the fridge and utensils. The air vent has completely fallen from the ceiling, and even the claypots have melted. Our 20 to 30 crabs also perished in the fire."
Facebook user Max Li, who lives nearby, said he was awoken in the middle of the night by a loud bang and was shocked to see the wet market in flames.
Mr Tan Cheng Koy, 70, a retiree who lives with his wife and four children in the corner unit on the second-floor of Block 494, told The Straits Times he was in his bedroom watching television when he heard the sound of firemen setting up their equipment.
"I opened my window to see what was happening, and there was a lot of smoke. Smoke was coming in through my kitchen window. Our vision was almost completely blurred. We immediately ran out," he said.
Mr Tan added that he and his family were allowed to return to their unit at only around 10am.
"The floor is still hot now. And the small window in my bedroom has shattered from the heat of the flames."
The cause of the fire is under investigation.
Inspection by Building and Construction Authority (BCA) engineers showed that the building structure at Block 493 remains stable, although the roof structure had partially collapsed and was damaged due to the fire.
BCA added that the structural integrity of Block 494 and the upper floors of the building were not affected by the fire, although the fire damaged the coffeeshop on the ground floor and part of the roof structure and adjacent linkways.
BCA has advised owners of affected buildings to cordon off affected areas.