Fires across Singapore's history: The Straits Times looks at five famous ones

A fire engine is seen at the scene of the Dec 6, 2014 fire at Geylang Lorong 4 -- PHOTO: SHIN MIN
A fire engine is seen at the scene of the Dec 6, 2014 fire at Geylang Lorong 4 -- PHOTO: SHIN MIN
Police at the scene of the Dec 6, 2014 fire at Geylang Lorong 4. -- PHOTO: IHSAN PRABAKARAN S/O SUBRAMANIAM
The doorway of the burnt walk-up apartment at Geylang Lorong 4.  -- ST PHOTO: DESMOND WEE
The interior of a room inside the burnt walk-up apartment at Geylang Lorong 4.  -- ST PHOTO: DESMOND WEE
The back of the building in Geylang Lorong 4 where a fire broke out on the morning of Dec 6, 2014, killing four. -- ST PHOTO: DESMOND WEE

SINGAPORE - Four foreign workers died after a fire broke out in a Geylang apartment on Friday morning. Three men died in the fire while a fourth succumbed to his injuries after being rescued. Here are some fires which remain etched in the minds of many in Singapore.

1. Marina Bay Suites Fire: 2014


When a fire alarm went off at the 66-storey Marina Bay Suites condominium on Jan 13 just after 10pm, two security guards took a service lift to the 65th floor to investigate. As the lift door opened at the floor, one of them shouted over the walkie-talkie: "Fire, fire!" Those were the last words of Malaysian Sooria Kala Kanaseon, 34, who died along with her colleague - Singaporean Sim Lai Huat, 58.

A coroner's inquiry concluded that the Jan 13 blaze was an accidental one and no foul play was suspected.

2. East Coast Lagoon Food Village Fire: 2013


The fire, which started in the wee hours of the morning, affected stalls 54 to 57 which included drinks and food stalls, and one of the more famous satay stores in Singapore, Haron Satay. The blaze, which caused tens of thousands of dollars of damage, was suspected to have been caused by wiring issues. Luckily no injuries were reported. The food centre closed in August last year for a $1.5 million revamp scheduled even before the blaze.

3) Seletar Market Fire: 2000


A major pre-dawn fire in 2000 destroyed more than half the Seletar market, leaving 84 stalls in ruins and their owners without any possible income for a week. No one was injured in the Seletar Road blaze but stall owners waited a week before they could move into makeshift stalls nearby. It took five to six months for the market to be rebuilt.

Fewer than 20 stallholders were insured. The metal roof of the market was warped, and parts of the walls and roof were blackened by soot. It was the first major fire in the market in over 20 years.

4) Robinsons Fire: 1972


At least nine people died in a fire at the Robinson's departmental store at Raffles Place in November 1972 . Out of the nine victims, eight were employees of the company. A short circuit in the store was believed to have caused the fire and 200 people had to flee the store after the fire started at around 10am. Flames at one point shot up to around 60 metres high and could be seen even in Toa Payoh and Jurong. The fire also destroyed the roof of the Overseas Union Bank next door.

5) Bukit Ho Swee Fire: 1961


The fire, the biggest ever blaze in Singapore's history, happened in the afternoon at a squatter district along the hillside of Kampong Tiong Bahru. Fanned by the winds, the fire razed attap and wooden huts across the road and engulfed five blocks of flats and shophouses nearby. It destroyed houses on 60 acres of land and left 16,000 homeless. One man died and several people were badly injured in this Hari Raya Haji fire that swept through Kampong Tiong Bahru to Bukit Ho Swee and Delta Road. The victims received help from the Government and the public. The Government built 12,000 flats for the victims and new occupants on the land ravaged by the fire.

Join ST's WhatsApp Channel and get the latest news and must-reads.