2 fires within 2 hours
Boat Quay pubs involved in fires yesterday morning
Two fires broke out at neighbouring pubs in Boat Quay within a span of two hours yesterday morning.
The first started at about 10am on the second floor of The Penny Black pub, while the second was next door at 28, Boat Quay, about 1 hour and 45 minutes later, said the Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF). Harry's occupies 28 and 29, Boat Quay.
The strong fumes from the smoke at The Penny Black alerted staff from Harry's bar next door.
A staff member from Harry's, who declined to be named, said he was called to inspect the kitchen elevator in Harry's when other workers detected smoke in their kitchen.
They then heard their director shouting at them to evacuate the bar.
He said: "Suddenly my CEO shouted, 'Get out! Get out!'.
"We could see smoke in the kitchen because the pipes between Harry's and The Penny Black are connected."
AREA: SCDF firefighters trying to extinguish the flames at The Penny Black. PHOTO: SCDF
He told TNP that three staff members and one customer at Harry's were evacuated. The bar was closed for over an hour while the SCDF and police attended to the fire.
When TNP arrived at the scene at about 11am, staff from Harry's and workers from a nearby construction site were waiting for police to give them the green light to resume work.
Mr Derrick Kyaw, 27, the mechanical and electrical coordinator of the construction site, said: "I saw a lot of smoke through the window and behind the building."
The owner of The Penny Black, Mr Bjorn Seegers, told TNP that the fire was caused by a mechanical fault in the pub's deep fryer.
Mr Seegers said: "This is the first time in the 17 years we have been running that a fire has happened."
His staff tried to put out the fire with an extinguisher, but the blaze was too strong.
"But this is part and parcel of our industry. Luckily my staff were on the ball and called the Singapore Civil Defence Force immediately."
The SCDF sent two fire bikes, one fire engine, two Red Rhinos, one support vehicle and one ambulance to the scene.
Firefighters extinguished the fire with a water jet.
SCDF reported that a member of the kitchen staff suffered a minor burn injury to his right hand.
Mr Seegers told TNP that the fire had been extinguished by the time he arrived at the scene at about 10.20am.
The area surrounding The Penny Black was cordoned off by the police and SCDF until about 11.30am.
But witnesses said just half-an-hour after the SCDF left the scene, firefighters from the Central Fire Station had to return.
This time, the SCDF said it was alerted at about 11.45am to a second fireat 28, Boat Quay.
That is Harry's address.
Two water jets and an aerial monitor were used to contain the fire.
The SCDF reported that the fire involved deep-seated burning of an internal duct within the void (attic crawl space) of the roof.
When asked if the fire at The Penny Black had caused the fire at Harry's later that morning, the SCDF said details cannot be provided as investigations are ongoing.
When TNP returned to the scene at 1.45pm, an even bigger area had been cordoned off.
Police tape and barricades prevented the busy lunch crowd from cutting through the road in front of The Penny Black to the nearby OCBC Centre in Chulia Street.
Business was also disrupted at McDonald's, Boomarang bar and The Connoisseur Concerto cafe along Circular Road, which are close to the pubs along Boat Quay.