Woman taken to hospital after fire breaks out at Rentokil Initial headquarters in MacPherson

SCDF officers putting out the fire at the headquarters of pest control company Rentokil Initial Singapore on Dec 21, 2018.
SCDF officers putting out the fire at the headquarters of pest control company Rentokil Initial Singapore on Dec 21, 2018.ST PHOTO: KEVIN LIM
Dense grey smoke was seen billowing from the building even from hundreds of metres away.
Dense grey smoke was seen billowing from the building even from hundreds of metres away.ST PHOTO: KEVIN LIM

SINGAPORE - A fire broke out at the headquarters of pest control company Rentokil Initial Singapore in MacPherson on Friday morning (Dec 21), with dense grey smoke seen billowing from the building even from hundreds of metres away.

The Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF) first said in a Facebook post at 9.40am that it had been alerted to the fire at 16 Jalan Mesin.

The fire involved pest control equipment and was extinguished in about two hours.

When firefighters arrived at around 9.20am, the fire had fully engulfed a storage area on the ground floor of the three-storey building, SCDF said.

A woman was taken to Raffles Hospital by ambulance, as she had complained of back pain while evacuating the building, SCDF said in a later update at around noon. The woman was discharged later in the day. No other injuries were reported.

A total of 14 emergency vehicles and about 45 firefighters were deployed.

At the height of the operations, seven water jets and foam were used to bring the fire under control.

As of noon, damping down operations to prevent rekindling of the fire from the hot, burnt surfaces were still being carried out.

Business development director Aimee Q. Presto, 38, told The Straits Times that she heard the sound of sirens from her MacPherson home at about 9.15am.

Looking out of the window from her 10th-storey Housing Board flat, she saw three fire engines making their way to the scene, where thick, grey smoke was seen rising in the air. The area has several industrial buildings.

By around 10am, the smoke from the fire had dissipated, she said.

In response to queries, a Rentokil Initial spokesman said that 84 employees were safely evacuated.

A female employee was taken to hospital due to a prior injury, the spokesman said, adding that the company is still investigating the cause of the fire.

The spokesman also said that all employees participate in fire drills twice a year and are trained to evacuate the building within five minutes.

SCDF is investigating the cause of the fire.