Customer, hawkers put out fire at stall in Sembawang
A fire broke out at a hawker centre in Sembawang on Tuesday morning after a stall was left unmanned.
The fire at Bukit Canberra Hawker Centre, which opened in December 2022, involved a stove and the kitchen exhaust hood of a food stall on the first floor, said the Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF), which was alerted at 9.05am.
Members of the public put out the fire with a fire extinguisher before SCDF’s arrival and there were no reported injuries, it added.
A worker of the affected stall - Long Xiang Ho Chiak Scissors Cut Curry Rice - told Chinese daily Shin Min Daily News that he was in the toilet when the fire happened.
Mr Wu, 63, said: “I went to the toilet after I prepared some ingredients for the dishes we were cooking.
“I don’t know when the stall will be ready for business again.”
When The Straits Times arrived at the stall at about 10am, the charred stall was drenched in water and vacated, with the lights switched off.
Describing the fire, Madam Christine Lock, 47, who sells nasi lemak just two stalls away, said this was the first fire since the hawker centre opened.
She said thick flames rose above the top of the burning stall.
“The smoke was everywhere, and I was anxious and afraid that an explosion might happen.”
Madam Lock said she was serving a few customers at the time of the fire and one of them passed her a fire extinguisher from a container outside her stall, which she then gave to her husband.
Her husband worked together with a neighbouring hawker to put out the fire, she added.
With the only exit blocked by the smoke coming out of the stall on fire, she was forced to climb out from the counter of her stall with the help of a customer.
Another hawker, who wanted to be known as Madam Tan, arrived at work at 9.30am. She found her stall, which is just across from the affected stall, completely drenched by the sprinklers.
The 50-year-old said: “Everything in my stall got wet, including my induction stove. I even collected bowls of water from the dripping ceiling to prevent it spilling everywhere, and I had to wipe away the puddles on my counter top.
“But luckily for me, my equipment can still be used,” she added.
In response to queries, the hawker centre’s management, Canopy Hawkers Group, said the fire suppression system within the affected stall was triggered and the fire did not spread to other stalls.
“The fire was put out within a minute by one of the many fire extinguishers located near the affected stall,” it added.
“The stall has reported minimal damage, however, we will require a few more days to assess the full extent of damages and conduct repairs. This is to ensure that it is safe for the stallholder to reopen for business.”