Laboratory fire results in worker injuries, death

by Miklos Bolza13 Oct 2015
A fire in a ground floor laboratory at a gas manufacturing company in Jurong has resulted in one death and seven injuries yesterday (12 October).
The accident occurred at Leeden National Oxygen on Tanjong Kling Road at 9.30am with the Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF) rushing to the scene.
Prior to the SCDF’s arrival, explosions were heard at the plant with Leeden’s Company Emergency Response Team (CERT) evacuating 150 workers from the premises and commencing firefighting operations.
The SCDF dispatched four fire engines, two Red Rhinos (light fire attack vehicles), two fire motorbikes, eight support vehicles and four ambulances to the scene. They also deployed four water jets and were able to contain the fire within the 35 square metre lab preventing the flames from spreading to the nearby flammable cylinder storage area.
SDCF personnel with breathing apparatus conducted search operations within the affected area.
A 30-year old chemist was pronounced dead at the scene by paramedics. Reports say she was the mother of a six-month old girl and had only returned to work after maternity leave a week ago. She was also a recent Singaporean citizen.
Seven individuals were injured with five taken to the National University Hospital (NUH) and two taken to Ng Teng Fong General Hospital (NTFGH). Injuries included lacerations, smoke inhalation and burns.
Four victims, including the woman who died, were working in the lab at the time of the fire. The other four were part of Leeden’s CERT.
Minister for Manpower, Lim Swee Say, visited the injured at NUH yesterday.
“We are going to conduct a very thorough investigation to find out the cause of this accident, draw lessons from it and take necessary precautions, if need be, new measures, to prevent this from happening again,” he told reporters.
Both patients at NTFGH were discharged yesterday. One was discharged from NUH with the remaining four still under medical supervision.
Corporate planning manager for Leeden, Ansel Tan, said that seven Singaporeans and one Malaysian were victims of the accident.
Steven Tham, the chief executive of Leeden, also made a statement to the press.
“We are very sad to hear about [the fatality] and also those who are injured. The company will do whatever we can to make sure that they are well taken care of.”
The lab at Leeden has ceased operations. The SCDF is currently investigating the cause of the fire.

(Image from Twitter user, Alibaba_160194)
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