Singapore

Five hurt in Bukit Batok industrial blast

Explosion at ZTP Ginseng Birdnest's factory shatters windows and damages cars

Ms Lek Kah Noi, 64, was in the kitchen of Da Jia Hao Canteen at Bukit Batok Crescent when she heard an explosion from a nearby factory at 11am yesterday.

Shattered glass rained down on her family-owned coffee shop, which is across the road from the factory, and patrons ran inside for cover.

The blast happened at ZTP Ginseng Birdnest's factory on the 11th storey of Enterprise Centre, at 20 Bukit Batok Crescent. Five workers from the factory were injured.

The New Paper understands that one of them was taken to Singapore General Hospital for burns. The other four were rushed to Ng Teng Fong General Hospital.

A spokesman for the hospital told TNP two workers have been admitted.

Ms Lek told TNP in Mandarin: "People started running in after the explosion, and glass shards fell on the area just as they moved away."

Mr Royce Ng, director of ZTP Ginseng Birdnest, told TNP: "An industrial boiler inside the factory exploded, but we are still not sure what caused the explosion. None of our employees are in critical condition, though some required minor surgeries."

An engineer from the Building and Construction Authority found that parts of the window panels and false ceilings of two 11th storey units were damaged, and a non-structural brick wall had partially collapsed.

The structural integrity of the building was not affected.

At least three cars across the road from the factory were also damaged, including one belonging to Ms Lek's husband, Mr Lee Teck Nam, also 64.

He told TNP: "Luckily, it was raining, so people were indoors. Otherwise, more would have been injured."

Madam Zuliana Mazlan, 35, a clerk at Evergreen Ice Cream, which is on the same storey as the factory, told TNP she was at the corridor having breakfast when the explosion happened.

She said: "There was a gas smell after that, and we saw the shutters of Lavish Dine and Kwong Satay damaged."

Mr Simon Lim, 51, a deliveryman who works on the 13th storey, said an alarm went off following the explosion and that workers were told to turn off the gas supply and halt operations.

The Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF) said it was alerted to the incident at about 11am, and it sent a fire engine, three Red Rhinos, three ambulances and three support vehicles to the scene.

In a Facebook post, SCDF said there was no fire and no one was trapped.- ADDITIONAL REPORTING BY ANG TIAN TIAN & MAVIS WONG

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