Singapore

Blast at Tuas Incineration Plant kills one, injures two

Workers had been carrying out electrical maintenance work in the switchroom

Three Singaporean workers were carrying out electrical maintenance work when an explosion occurred at the Tuas Incineration Plant yesterday.

The blast in the electrical switchroom killed one of them and seriously injured the other two.

The one who died, a 65-year-old man, was pronounced dead at the scene. The other two men, aged 59 and 64, had burn injuries and were taken to Singapore General Hospital.

The incident at the plant in Tuas Avenue 20 took place at 3.15pm.

About 80 people evacuated themselves from the premises, said the Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF) in a Facebook post yesterday.

All other plant workers are safe, and operations at the plant have been safely wound down, said the National Environment Agency, which owns the plant.

The cause of the fire is being investigated, said SCDF.

The Ministry of Manpower, which is also investigating the incident, said it has instructed the occupier to stop all electrical maintenance work at the premises.

SCDF said that when it arrived, it found an electrical switchroom on the first storey smoke-logged, and entered the premises with breathing apparatus to locate the fire.

It noted that the fire involved a chimney fan switch in the electrical switchroom.

SCDF said its firefighters extinguished a few pockets of fire with two dry powder fire extinguishers.

When The Straits Times arrived at the scene at about 4.30pm, several police cars and at least six SCDF vehicles were at the compound.

Other workers wearing helmets and dressed in light-blue uniforms were gathered outside the building. Police officers were seen speaking to some of them.

A worker told The Straits Times that the bodies of the two seriously injured workers were blackened and their clothes were torn.

At about 5pm, four SCDF vehicles, including an ambulance and two fire engines, left the plant.

Minister for Sustainability and the Environment Grace Fu said in a Facebook post yesterday: "I am deeply saddened by this incident, and would like to convey my deepest condolences to the families of the victims.

"We will investigate the cause of this tragic incident to prevent any future occurrences."

The plant is the second refuse incineration plant built in Singapore. There are currently four such plants.

It was constructed at an estimated $200 million and sits on 6.3ha of reclaimed land.

It is able to incinerate 1,400 tonnes of refuse with its five units of incinerators.

Before yesterday's incident, the total number of workplace fatalities this year as at this month was 27.

On Feb 24, an explosion occurred at an industrial building at 32E Tuas Avenue 11, killing three people.

Last year, there were 30 workplace fatalities.

There were 39 workplace deaths in 2019 and 41 in 2018.

ADDITIONAL REPORTING: KOK YUFENG

ACCIDENTS FIRE FLOOD