Freon gas leak the cause of white smoke seen in MRT train that was evacuated at Raffles Place station

The smoke was caused by a leaking air-conditioning compressor that released freon gas, an inert non-flammable gas that is also used in refrigerants and aerosol propellants.
The smoke was caused by a leaking air-conditioning compressor that released freon gas, an inert non-flammable gas that is also used in refrigerants and aerosol propellants.PHOTOS: BENNY OKA/FACEBOOK

SINGAPORE - A train at Raffles Place MRT station was evacuated after white smoke was seen inside the train on Friday afternoon (Jan 10).

The smoke, seen at around 12.45pm at the station, was caused by a leaking air-conditioning compressor that released freon gas, rail operator SMRT said.

Freon gas is an inert non-flammable gas that is also used in refrigerants and aerosol propellants. The gas usually does not react with other substances and mild exposure is generally harmless.

"As a safety precaution, all commuters on board the affected train were asked to disembark and board the next train," said Ms Margaret Teo, SMRT's chief communications officer. "The affected train was withdrawn from service for further checks."

No fire or injuries were reported in the incident, which happened on the East-West Line. The train was subsequently sent back to the depot for checks.

Mr Benny Ong, 27, a sales manager, told The Straits Times that he was on the train and headed towards Raffles Place station from Tanjong Pagar station when he saw smoke in the cabin and sensed a burning smell.

"The smell was quite strong and commuters alighted once the train reached Raffles Place," said Mr Ong, adding that a pre-recorded announcement was made on the train, saying that it would be stopping at the station for a while.

"There was no chaos, just some anxiety among commuters."