Fire at Changi Airport causes significant delays
It was a small fire that was easily put out with a hose reel jet.
But it happened in the departure hall of one of the world's busiest airports, prompting authorities to close and evacuate Changi Airport's Terminal 2 Tuesday evening.
Three people were also taken to hospital for smoke inhalation.
The evacuation caused flights out of T2 to be grounded before they were be moved to T3 - leaving many passengers stranded due to delays.
The incident also prompted SBS Transit to order its bus services 24, 27 and 53 to skip the bus stop at Terminal 2.
The police said in a statement on their Facebook page that they were alerted to the fire at T2 at 5.43pm.
The Changi Airport Group (CAG) said the fire alarm at Changi Airport Terminal 2 was sounded at about 5.40pm after smoke was found coming through the air vents.
The terminal was then evacuated.
The Straits Times Online reported that all flights out of T2 were grounded at 5.40pm.
Mr Faruk Ali, 38, a driver, was having his dinner at a restaurant in T2 when the fire alarm sounded.
"I didn't pay attention to it at first, until I saw thick black smoke - which appeared out of nowhere and all of a sudden - filling up the terminal.
"Then there was the announcement for everyone to evacuate and people started moving. It was a little chaotic as everyone was panicky," he said.
Mr Ali said everyone was guided to the evacuation area beside the carpark outside of the terminal, where they remained for about an hour.
At 6.40pm, the CAG said it identified the cause of the fire and had it under control, but said flights remained affected.
The Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF) said in a statement on its Facebook page that it was a small fire, which was extinguished using a hose reel jet.
The CAG later said in another update that all flights slated to depart from and arrive at T2 were moved to T3, with "significant delays" expected.
T2 remained closed when The New Paper arrived the airport just before 8pm.
Traffic to T2 was blocked off, resulting in long jams building up as travellers make their way to other terminals.
Changi Airport staff were seen at T2 directing and ushering people to T3's holding area, which was packed with affected passengers and their luggage.
Staff were also seen distributing bottled water to those affected.
CAG also apologised for the inconvenience caused, but workplace safety and health consultant Lee Wee Kiat of Bibline Consulting said the authorities made the right call as lives were at stake.
"In most cases of a fire, people are overcome by the smoke, not the flames.
"There may be disruptions and inconvenience, but the primary concern is the safety of people," he said.