Inquiry into chemist's death: Blast caused ceiling to drop
Coroner's inquiry into Jurong fire that killed chemist.
He was in the middle of work at an industrial plant one morning last October when a blast suddenly shook the building.
Mr Ng Zhen Jian, a senior executive at gas manufacturing firm Leeden National Oxygen, rushed to investigate and saw the quality control laboratory in flames.
Realising that one of his colleagues, chemist Krysten Lim Siaw Chian, 30, was missing, he wanted to rush in to look for her but was stopped for safety reasons.
He called her on her mobile phone but by then, she was already dead.
Yesterday was the first day of a coroner's inquiry into Madam Lim's death on Oct 12 last year.
The court heard that several explosions rocked the building and a fire broke out.
When the Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF) arrived at Tanjong Kling Road in Jurong, officers found charred human remains inside the premises.
Madam Lim was identified through DNA tests.
THE NEW PAPER, OCT 13, 2015
Inspector Mohammad Amin Majid, the investigation officer, told State Coroner Marvin Bay yesterday that Leeden National Oxygen was involved in the storage, mixing and bottling of industrial gases such as hydrogen, helium and nitrogen.
Madam Lim was assigned to the speciality gas centre quality control laboratory, where experiments involved separating and analysing compounds by vaporising them with a heated column.
Insp Amin added that the laboratory also contained numerous gas cylinders filled with both inert and flammable gases.
Between 9.20am and 9.30am on Oct 12, Madam Lim was running a gas sample while her colleague, quality assurance supervisor Seet Charles Heng, was looking at some analysis results.
Mr Heng suddenly saw a huge flash and the ceiling collapsed.
Their colleague, lab technician Lim Ming Jie, heard an explosion and saw an orange flash of light.
The force of the blast caused several large gas cylinders to topple over.
The men escaped and the police were called in at 9.35am.
Insp Amin said Madam Lim died of blast injuries and based on the evidence gathered, no foul play was suspected.
He told Coroner Bay the cause of the blast had not been confirmed, pending reports from the SCDF and the Ministry of Manpower.
Madam Lim's husband - engineer Ooi Peng Fung - her brother and her aunt were in court yesterday.
Mr Ooi told reporters he was still coping with his loss and just wanted to find out what had happened.
The case has been adjourned to April 15.
Victim was a new mum
LOVING: Madam Krysten Lim Siaw Chian was described as a devoted mother. -PHOTO: FACEBOOK
When Madam Krysten Lim Siaw Chiandied, her daughter was only six months old.
The 30-year-old chemist had been back at work from maternity leave for only a week when she was killed in the blast at gas manufacturing firm Leeden National Oxygen on Oct 12 last year.
A devoted mother, she would express her breast milk daily for her baby even though she was in pain after a caesarean section delivery.
Madam Lim and her husband, Mr Ooi Peng Fung, were from Malaysia and met when they were undergraduates at the University of Malaya in Malaysia.
They came here for work and got their master's degrees at the National University of Singapore. They later took up Singapore citizenship.
Leeden National Oxygen's chief executive Steven Tham told The Straits Times two days after the incident that a five-figure sum was raised for Madam Lim's family.
The amount came from donations from the firm's management and workers. He declined to reveal the exact figure.
Mr Tham said the money raised was on top of the compensation Madam Lim's family would get from the insurer.