Small LRT fire, big disruption
Bukit Panjang LRT services were suspended yesterday after a chain of events, including an electrical fire at Senja station, disrupted the entire line.
It started with a power trip between Pending and Jelapang stations at 5.30pm.
This caused one train to stall between Petir and Pending stations, forcing around 40 passengers to evacuate (above) and walk on the tracks to Pending station.
Before services could resume, a fire broke out in an electrical room at Senja station around 5.45pm.
A Singapore Civil Defence Force spokesman said it sent a fire engine, an ambulance and nine other vehicles. "The fire involved a circuit breaker inside the electrical room. It was put out using one fire extinguisher," he added.
No one was hurt.
Train services could not be resumed as power tie-breakers were damaged in the fire, said SMRT Trains managing director Lee Ling Wee.
Late last night SMRT said it was working hard to restart the service but it recommended that commuters make alternative arrangements for early morning travel.
Bus bridging services would be provided at all affected LRT stations. "Commuters can also board for free regular SMRT bus services at designated bus stops," said Mr Lee. "Additional SMRT staff will be deployed on ground to assist commuters."
Updates will be available on the SMRT website, SMRT and LTA Facebook and Twitter accounts, LTA Traffic News and MyTransport.SG.
When The New Paper arrived at Senja station around 6.30pm, a strong stench of burnt plastic was in the air.
Mr Johnny Teng, 56, who runs a convenience store inside the station, said he and his mother-in-law found the fumes suffocating.
"It smelled very bad and all I could do was to close shop and leave. No one has told me when I can reopen the shop," he said.
Several commuters used their mobile phones to take pictures of officers investigating the smouldering remains of the circuit breaker.
But many others trying to get home during the peak travel time were not amused.
Recruiter C. S. Neo, 45, said: "I just got off work and this happens. Why so many delays recently? Do they have to stop the whole line?"
Thirty feeder buses were deployed to ferry commuters for free around the LRT route.
"SMRT is investigating the root cause of the incident," said Mr Lee. "We are very sorry for the inconvenience caused to commuters."