Tuas fire put out after 4 hours, no casualties reported, cause of fire under investigation: SCDF
SINGAPORE - The huge fire that broke out at a Tuas waste management plant handling toxic waste on Thursday (Feb 23) morning was put out after four hours and no casaulties were reported, said Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF).
One firefighter was treated for heat exhaustion at Ng Teng Fong General Hospital.
SCDF said that the cause of the fire, which involved chemical waste and flammable materials, was under investigation.
SCDF officers are damping down the site to prevent rekindling of the fire from the hot, burnt surfaces.
At the peak of the fire that broke out at around 6am, explosions could be heard as firefighters fought to put out the fire involving chemical waste and flammable materials at 23 Tuas View Circuit.
SCDF said the fire involved chemical waste and flammable materials and had advised the public to stay clear of the area.
Eye witnesses told The Straits Times that the roads around the site of the fire at 23 Tuas View Circuit are closed and bus services have stopped.
A chemical smell hung in the air as tall plumes of thick black smoke shot up into the sky.
ECO Special Waste Management was engulfed in flames when the SCDF arrived. It is fully licensed by the National Environment Agency (NEA) as a Toxic Industrial Waste Collector, a General Waste Collector, and an Asbestos Removal Contractor, among other qualifications.
The company's chief executive officer Rick Reidinger told The Straits Times that the 20 workers at the plant were evacuated in time and no one was hurt.
"We are still doing an investigation as to the exact source but the important thing is that nobody is hurt," he said.
"About half of the plant is not damaged, so we are working (to) get it up as quickly as possible," he added.
In 2012, ECO's incinerator plant in Tuas View Crescent also caught fire, with its 25 employees evacuated safely.
Mr Reidinger said that the company has since made a "major investment" in building fire safety and it was "unfortunate" that the latest fire could not be prevented.
Founded in 1998, ECO provides services to industrial and commercial customers from industries such as petrochemical, pharmaceutical, oil and gas, power generation, electronics, marine, engineering, and semiconductor, and has 2,000 customers, the company said on its website.
Construction worker Asraful, 23, told The Straits Times he saw the fire when he woke up at 8am.
Mr Asraful, who lives in Tuas South Dormitory, was walking out from Tuas South Ave 9, which had been closed to the public.
"The buses have all stopped," he said.
Mr Daniq, 40, a chef, was on his way to work at Tuas Power Station at 10am. He said he had to walk from a long way off because of road closures due to the fire.
About 200 SCDF responders were at the site to put out the flames.
SCDF also deployed nine fire engines, five Red Rhinos, four Unmanned Firefighting Machines, one ambulance and 15 support vehicles.
In a Facebook post at 9.49am, it said: "Periodic explosions could be heard as firefighters battle the blaze to contain it within the affected premises. SCDF is also applying foam to suppress the fire in the drains within the immediate vicinity."
An earlier SCDF Facebook post at 8.40am said that the area, which measured about 200m by 200m, was fully engulfed in flames when their officers arrived.
It first alerted the public about the fire on its Facebook page at 7.18am, adding that StarHub mobile subscribers in the immediate vicinity of the fire incident would have received an advisory message urging members of public to stay away from the area.
Police confirmed the fire in a Facebook post: "The Police confirm that a case of fire has been reported at 23 Tuas View Circuit. Tuas South Ave 3 and Tuas View Crescent are closed to facilitate operations. The public is advised to avoid the area."
A massive plume of smoke rising into the sky was caught on videos posted on social media:
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