SINGAPORE: Shoppers were evacuated from Chinatown Point on Friday morning (Mar 12) after a store near the shopping mall’s main entrance caught fire.
Flames could be seen behind the glass facade of Luxury City, a luxury handbag consignment and cleaning store.
Security personnel ushered patrons out of the mall and prevented others from entering through the main entrance and via Chinatown MRT station. White smoke filled part of the mall’s first floor and an acrid smell hung in the air.
A loud sound was heard at about 10.30am and two long cracks could be seen on the storefront glass panel of the handbag shop.
After hearing the sound, mall staff members moved a metal barricade from a nearby McDonald’s outlet to prevent pedestrians from getting too close to the glass and warned that it may “explode”. A police car arrived on the scene shortly after.
Dozens of people and shopping mall employees were seen waiting on the pavement along New Bridge Road during the incident. Some were seen holding their breakfast while one woman was observed with wet hair and a towel around her shoulders.
FIRE INVOLVED A SIGNBOARD: SCDF
The Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF) said it was alerted to the fire at about 10.30am.
The fire involved a signboard in a store on the first floor and was extinguished by the sprinkler system before SCDF officers arrived, it added.
About 100 shoppers and store operators had evacuated, while one person was taken to Singapore General Hospital for smoke inhalation.
A preliminary investigation into the cause of the fire indicated that it was of “electrical origin”, said SCDF.
A spokesperson of Perennial (Singapore) Retail Management, which manages Chinatown Point, said all shoppers and mall tenants, as well as tenants of the office block above the mall, were evacuated.
Mall operations have since resumed after getting the all-clear from the relevant authorities, said the spokesperson in an updated statement at 3.30pm.
As the fire had broken out before the affected shop opened, the mall’s property operations team entered the unit to extinguish the fire before SCDF arrived.
It was put out at 10.45am, said the spokesperson.
The man who was taken to hospital for smoke inhalation has since been discharged.
“We are working closely with the authorities to investigate the incident,” said the spokesperson. “The safety and well-being of our shoppers, tenants and staff are our priorities and we sincerely apologise for any inconvenience caused.”