Decorative cladding falls from HDB block in Pasir Ris

The area was cordoned off after a decorative structure fell from Block 270 Pasir Ris Street 21 yesterday. No one was hurt and Pasir Ris-Punggol GRC MP Zainal Sapari said the incident is being investigated.
The area was cordoned off after a decorative structure fell from Block 270 Pasir Ris Street 21 yesterday. No one was hurt and Pasir Ris-Punggol GRC MP Zainal Sapari said the incident is being investigated. PHOTOS: ZAINAL SAPARI

A decorative structure fell from the top of an eight-storey Housing Board block in Pasir Ris yesterday.

The incident at Block 270 Pasir Ris Street 21 startled Ms Ye Ruoshi, who was feeding her three-month-old daughter at her parents' home at around 11am when she heard a loud sound.

"At first, I thought it was thunder because it was drizzling, but it was such a loud crashing sound that we thought maybe something fell," the 45-year-old artist told The Straits Times.

The sound was so loud that it startled her daughter, who began to cry.

Ms Ye went to her window to investigate the source of the noise, and saw neighbours pointing towards an adjacent block, she told The Straits Times.

"Thank God nobody was downstairs at the time," said Ms Ye, who also has three sons. She added that she took photos of the fallen structure to warn her children.

Within an hour, she saw police officers arriving at the scene to cordon off the area.

At around 3pm, Pasir Ris-Punggol GRC MP Zainal Sapari posted an update on the incident on Facebook.

He said a large portion of the decorative cladding on the block had fallen off, but fortunately there were no injuries.

He added that police and the town council were at the site, along with officers from the Housing Board's technical department.

"(The) cause of damage is still under investigation," he said.

The Pasir Ris-Punggol Town Council and HDB told The Straits Times that they were informed about the incident at noon yesterday.

"The panel is part of the facade design and is non-structural. The building is structurally safe," they said in response to queries.

They added that the town council will be repairing the damage as well as taking additional precautions by checking neighbouring blocks with similar features.

The town council has also cleared the debris and cordoned off the area beneath the affected facade.

Ms Ye said that a similar incident occurred in the estate earlier this year. Part of the ceiling fell from a covered linkway, leaving a hole that has yet to be repaired, she said.

In September 2016, a concrete sunshade was partially dislodged from an HDB block in Tampines. It was later found that there were no rebars on the side of the sunshade that dislodged, following an investigation by a professional engineer engaged by the Tampines Town Council.

By late October that year, it was reported that parts of housing blocks had fallen off on at least three occasions over the preceding two months.

Charmaine Ng

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 19, 2018, with the headline 'Decorative cladding falls from HDB block in Pasir Ris'. Print Edition | Subscribe