Two workers in Punggol fire rescued and taken to hospital
Two workers were stranded in a gondola lift after a fire broke out at the construction site of a private school and cut off power in Punggol yesterday.
They were rescued by Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF) officers, who rappelled down from the roof of the half-completed building.
The blaze at the Global Indian International School worksite at Punggol Field Walk was so large that residents at nearby HDB blocks and a condominium were concerned.
Housewife Patricia Tan, 34, who lives opposite the site, said she noticed the thick black smoke - which rose higher than her 17th-storey flat - from her window at 4.25pm.
She immediately called 995 before contacting The New Paper hotline.
"I also saw workers dashing out of the worksite, and the whole area was engulfed by the smoke soon after," she added.
The evacuated workers later assembled at a field near the worksite, said Miss Tan, who saw SCDF fire engines, Red Rhinos and ambulances arrive around 4.40pm.
The Straits Times reported that a witness heard two explosions during the fire.
The stranded workers, identified as Chinese nationals Xin Rui Jung and Ma Guo Zhong, were taken to Changi General Hospital for smoke inhalation.
SCDF said the fire had engulfed an area of about 30m by 50m. Its officers used four water jets to get the fire under control by 6.50pm, but they continued damping down the area to prevent any rekindling from the burnt surfaces.
Videos on social media and messaging platforms show the fire appearing to mainly affect the first storey of the half-constructed building.
The Global Indian International School has campuses in Queenstown, East Coast and Balestier. Its first fully-owned campus, in Punggol, was expected to open by next year.
When TNP contacted the school's main office at about 5pm, a staff member said the management was unaware of the incident.
But its spokesman told the Today newspaper that it is looking into the cause of the fire with the relevant authorities. Subsequent calls by TNP went unanswered.
A Ministry of Manpower spokesman said the ministry is investigating the incident.