No power, no gas after Toa Payoh blaze

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Pre-dawn fire at Toa Payoh void deck destroys wiring, leaves pipes exposed

A pre-dawn fire that broke out yesterday in the void deck of a Housing Board point block in Toa Payoh left residents without electricity for most of the day and night.

The fire, which started among discarded items at the void deck of the 25-storey Block 14A in Lorong 7, also left residents without gas for about 10 hours.

By about 10pm, one of the lifts was working and electricity was being restored.

Said Bishan-Toa Payoh GRC MP Saktiandi Supaat: "The workers are working hard to replace the wiring as 100 per cent of the wiring (in the void deck ceiling) is destroyed.

"The lobby lights are up. But individual units will be ready around midnight, I was told by the town council, as the wiring replacement took some time."

A Singapore Power Group representative said gas was restored to the block at 2.45pm.

Insurance agent Hannah Tan, 50, was considering booking a hotel for the night if the electricity was not back.

"My parents are elderly, and if they walk around the house in the dark and fall, it can be really dangerous. I would rather a place with some light at least," she said.

No power, no gas after Toa Payoh blaze
Soot was seen up to the fifth storey of the block. PHOTO: THE STRAITS TIMES

The fire started around 4am, said residents, damaging the void deck and covering the sides of the block with soot up to the fifth storey.

When The Straits Times arrived at 10am yesterday, the ceiling and walls near the fire were badly burned with wiring and pipes exposed.


Security guard Kumar Veera-samy, 52, said he was sitting in the residents' corneracross the fire at about 3am when he smelled smoke. He walked over and saw a sofa on fire.

"There were some mattresses and stuff there too, and I started to move them away so they wouldn't catch fire," he said.

Other residents joined him in moving away some of the rubbish around the sofa before alerting the Singapore Civil Defence Force, he added.

Retired businessman Henry Yeow, 70, said the sofa and mattress had been left at the void deck for two or three days.

However, when asked about this, a town council representative said conservancy workers had done a final check of the area at 6pm on Monday and did not see such items.

It is likely they had been discarded after the workers had gone for the day, he added.

He advised residents to call the town council for its free bulky removal service to throw away unwanted items instead of leaving them in common areas.

Mr Saktiandi said his main concern is the safety of the residents.

He said: "It is unfortunate that this is happening near the Hari Raya period. It is just lucky it did not happen inside a house."

The SCDF was alerted to the fire at 4.51am and put it out in 10 minutes using dry powder and compressed air foam.

FireToa PayohSingapore Civil Defence Force