UPDATE (7.30PM): The Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF) confirmed in a Facebook post that they were alerted to the incident at about 5.10PM. Upon arrival, they found a “pile of smoldering trash” at the bottom of a ventilation shaft “within a stairwell”. There are no reported injuries, and they will be investigating the cause of the fire.
A startling scene unfolded along the familiar streets of Orchard Road at around 5.30PM on Wednesday evening (26 Sep).
Hundreds of stunned shoppers were shepherded out of Takashimaya Shopping Mall after a suspected fire broke out.
A “strong burning smell” was reported and people in the building were asked to use the staircase to evacuate.
Ms Belle Ong, an officer worker, told Channel NewsAsia (CNA) that she saw smoke on the 3rd floor of the building, and at least 4 fire engines parked outside the mall.
But thanks to SCDF’s quick response, shoppers and staff were invited to re-enter the building 1.5 hours after the alarm was sounded.
Social media was ablaze with pictures of the mass evacuation.
SCDF confirmed in a Facebook post that Tower B of Ngee Ann City was evacuated “as a precautionary measure” before officers arrived on the scene.
According to what we gleaned from screenshots of the chaotic scene — citizens were asked to evacuate the premises after a suspected fire broke out in the building.
This person who worked in the vicinity added that her colleagues were “pretty chill about it” until they realised that “a fire broke out somewhere” and that “fire engines” were onsite.
After a 1.5-hour evacuation exercise, everyone was gradually allowed back into the building at around 7PM, according to CNA’s report.
On a lighter note, some netizens hilariously realised that the timing of the incident coincided with Kinokuniya’s book launch event for ‘Billion Dollar Whale‘ — an exposé about Jho Low’s 1MDB-linked lavish lifestyle.
This tweet also mentioned that this ‘suspected fire’ was the first in 20 years.
However, a quick search online only brought up this mention of a small fire incident at Takashimaya which took place in 2006.
For those who are in the vicinity or planning to head down to Orchard soon, do take note that the area outside of Takashimaya may still be crowded.
Most of all, kudos to our SCDF team for their swift response.
We hope that their investigation will uncover the cause of the fire soon.
Featured image from Instagram and Twitter.
The woman was declared dead at the scene.
The driver was going at high speed before colliding with the officer.
The driver is assisting with police investigations.
Doctors have reportedly been seeing more patients in March.
The sweet pup apparently roams around the island.
A woman was carrying a 17-day-old baby when the police arrested her.