Jurong East flat catches fire again, a day after blaze kills man

The second fire was found to have started in a bedroom of the four-room flat, likely reignited by deep-seated embers within the rubble. PHOTO: LIANHE ZAOBAO
Town council workers disposing debris from the ninth-floor flat after it was struck by fire again on Aug 17, 2022. ST PHOTO: ONG WEE JIN
The SCDF were alerted to the second fire at Block 236 Jurong East at about 5am on Aug 17. PHOTO: LIANHE ZAOBAO
On Aug 16, SCDF were alerted to the fire at the ninth-storey flat at Block 236 Jurong East Street 21 at about 2.50am. PHOTO: SCDF/FACEBOOK
Heat and smoke damage sustained along the corridor of the affected unit during the fire on Aug 16, 2022. PHOTO: SCDF/FACEBOOK
Town council workers removing debris from the unit at Block 236 Jurong East on Aug 17, 2022. ST PHOTO: ONG WEE JIN

SINGAPORE - A fire broke out again in a ninth-storey flat in Jurong East on Wednesday morning (Aug 17), a day after a blaze that killed a man there was put out by firefighters.

According to a statement by the Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF), it was alerted to the second fire at Block 236 Jurong East Street 21 at about 5am on Wednesday.

It was found that the fire started in one of the bedrooms of the four-room flat, likely reignited by deep-seated embers within the rubble. Firefighters, who were called in again, used a water jet to extinguish the flames.

When The Straits Times arrived at the scene at about 1.30pm, officers from the SCDF were still at work on the ninth floor conducting operations with a fire hose reel.

Cleaners could be seen leaving the unit with debris from the fire, including burnt furniture and fans. 

A resident living on the floor below the affected unit, who wanted to be known only as Mrs Lim, 44, said that she could detect the smell of smoke at about 5am on Wednesday.

“We had a feeling it was the same unit, and that the fire probably started from all the things that they had collected. I don’t think it was as bad as yesterday, but we all still evacuated and went downstairs,” she said.

There were no reported injuries from this second fire in the flat.

On Tuesday, a 48-year-old man died after the unit caught fire. Another person who lived in the flat managed to escape before firefighters arrived.

Three residents from a neighbouring flat had to be rescued by firefighters, after clutter along the common corridor left by owners of the affected unit caught fire, blocking their exit path.

One of the three neighbours rescued from the blaze, a 56-year-old information technology analyst who wanted to be known only as Mr Sunil, claimed that the owners of the affected unit had a habit of leaving items, such as household appliances and bags, in the common corridor.

Affected residents have been provided with alternative accommodation in the vicinity and will be given assistance, said a spokesman from the Housing Board.

Three water jets and a special platform ladder were used by firefighters, who wore breathing apparatus sets, to fight the first blaze. The fire was fully extinguished in about five hours.

Damping-down operations, involving the application of water to burnt surfaces to prevent potential rekindling of fires, were conducted for about eight hours after the first fire was extinguished, the SCDF said then.

Town council workers removing debris from the unit at Block 236 Jurong East on Aug 17, 2022. ST PHOTO: ONG WEE JIN

However, damping down does not completely eliminate the possibility of reignition, said Mr Han Wenqi, a registered workplace safety and health officer.

“Damping via water jet could cover the majority of external surfaces of burnt objects, but does not submerge them in the water entirely. Extinguishing the fire with foam could contain embers, but that is mostly used for chemical and electrical fires,” said the freelance fire safety manager.

He added that common household items, such as wood, paper and vegetable oil, are fuels that can react with oxygen and heat from unsubmerged portions of embers. Gases are then released from this reaction, which may lead to reignition.

In 2016, a similar case occurred when two fires broke out at Boat Quay within the span of a few hours. The first fire broke out at The Penny Black pub at 10am and the second around noon at Harry’s Bar next door.

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