Fire at Carlton Hotel amid blackouts in area

Fire at Carlton Hotel amid blackouts in area

A fire broke out in a switch room at Carlton Hotel in Bras Basah on Thursday afternoon (Feb 14), amid power outages in the area. Ahmad Khan with more.

SINGAPORE: A fire broke out in a switch room at Carlton Hotel in Bras Basah on Thursday afternoon (Feb 14), amid power outages in the area

Witnesses reported hearing "explosions" from the hotel and seeing smoke emit from one of its back doors.

Energy provider SP Group said preliminary findings indicate that there was equipment failure at a substation serving Carlton Hotel. This in turn caused an electricity flashover which resulted in the fire.

The equipment failure also led to a power trip affecting electricity supply to parts of Bugis, City Hall, Marina Bay and Somerset. Power was restored within 12 minutes to all areas except Carlton Hotel. 

The Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF) said it responded to the fire at 1.15pm. 

"The fire, which was contained within a switch room, was extinguished by SCDF using fire extinguishers," it said. About 1,000 people were evacuated from the building and there were no reported injuries. 

carlton hotel incident feb 14 2019
Safety workers from SP Group gathered at the back of Carlton Hotel on Feb 14, 2019. (Photo: Jeremy Long) 

A spokesman for Carlton Hotel said those evacuated from the building included hotel guests and visitors. The hotel also said that a back-up generator would be set up.

In a statement, the hotel added that the fire was contained within the substation on the ground floor. 

"Fortunately, no one was injured and no part of the hotel is affected by the fire. We apologise for the inconvenience caused," the statement read.

"The cause of the fire is under investigation. Meanwhile, the team from Singapore Power is carrying out works to restore the hotel’s supply as soon as possible."

Electricity supply to Carlton Hotel was fully restored at 6.34pm, said SP Group in a Facebook update on Thursday night.

"We apologise for the inconvenience caused to the public, the hotel and its guests and we thank them for their understanding and patience," said SP Group.

The Energy Market Authority (EMA) said it is investigating the cause of the power supply disruption. 

"Depending on the outcome of our investigations, we will decide on the appropriate action to take against any party found to be responsible for the disruption," said an EMA spokesperson in a statement.

Photos on social media showed a number of SCDF vehicles near the hotel and scores of people milling around.

Carlton hotel explosion 2
The scene outside Carlton Hotel at Bras Basah on Feb 14, 2019. (Photo: Facebook/何少東)

Facebook user Ricardo Sentosa posted a video showing smoke and a blackened door at the hotel. He said a "small explosion" was heard around 1.20pm, followed by a second explosion shortly after.

Another eyewitness, accountant Emmanuel Lau, told Channel NewsAsia he saw smoke coming out of the back of the hotel.

​​​​​​​An eyewitness working at Odeon Towers, who wanted to be known only as Jason, said white smoke was seen coming out of a room at the back of the hotel.

"It smelled like burnt rubber and plastic. I didn't hear the explosion, but we left our office after hearing the alarm go off," he said.

SP Group officers outside Carlton Hotel
SP Group officers outside Carlton Hotel. (Photo: Jeremy Long)

Another eyewitness, who gave his name as Mr Lee, was working at a nearby kitchen when he heard an explosion.

"We came out and there was a lot of smoke coming out from a room at the hotel," he said. "The power was out in our kitchen and it was very hot so we all came out and took a break ... we resumed working 30 minutes later. I wasn't too worried since we are not in the same building.

"It didn't look bad."

READ: Power outages at offices, MRT stations in central Singapore

Mr Ho Shao Dong, who was at Bras Basah Complex, said it appeared that the whole building was hit by a blackout.

sp group vehicles along victoria street
SP Group vehicles along Victoria Street. (Photo: Jeremy Long) 

SBS Transit said seven of its MRT stations on the North East Line were affected by the power outages. 

"Emergency lights were turned on during this period which lasted less than 25 minutes. Train services were not affected by the power outage,” said a spokesperson.

Chinatown MRT blackout 1
Commuters at Chinatown MRT station during the blackout. (Photo: Channel NewsAsia reader) 

This story came from a reader tip-off. If you would like to send in photos or videos of something newsworthy, WhatsApp our Mediacorp news hotline at +65 8218 8281 or message us on Facebook.

Source: CNA/ga(hm)

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