SINGAPORE: Tampines Mall was forced to shutter its doors temporarily after a fire broke out in the shopping centre on Thursday (Apr 18) afternoon.
It reopened to the public about two hours later at 7pm, but said that some shops had chosen to remain closed for the rest of the day.
The fire involved a deep fryer at an atrium fair, the Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF) said, adding that it responded to the incident at about 4.30pm.
Members of the public had used dry powder extinguishers and a hose reel to help fight the blaze, which was extinguished before SCDF arrived.
A man was taken to Changi General Hospital for smoke inhalation, SCDF said.
Footage posted on Twitter showed flames near an escalator as a thick cloud of smoke rose into the air. Customers were seen scrambling to safety.
In an statement on Facebook, Tampines Mall said that a small fire had broken out in the atrium of the mall.
"The fire has been put out. As a safety precaution, we have temporarily closed the mall," it said.
The fire happened near the Spring Kyushu Fair, a Japanese food fair taking place at the mall. Photos sent by eyewitnesses showed flames next to a stall selling deep fried and braised seafood.
CNA reader Joanne Tan said she was standing next to a stove beside the stall, when she saw it catch fire.
"The fire spread very quickly," Ms Tan said. "The fire alarm was triggered because of the smoke. I was choked by the smoke."
She added that several men tried to put out the blaze with fire extinguishers, but they were only able to contain the fire momentarily.
"The fire kept coming back bigger and bigger. The last thing I saw was they were pulling the fire hose to the stall, before I was dragged out by my friend," Ms Tan said.
"Initially everyone nearby came over to help, but when the smoke was overwhelming, security guards and some men were shouting to others to leave the mall."
Another witness said he was on the first floor of the mall when he was told by security to evacuate.
"A burning smell was present. Everyone inside was evacuated; everyone was calm," he added.
"More than four police vehicles were seen, two ambulances and one fire engine."
Jane Kwek told CNA she was in the Hush Puppies store when the fire started at one of the stalls at the Spring Kyushu Fair.
“The fire was contained in the stall on level one. The smoke covered the entire mall and an announcement was given to evacuate. Security also ushered us to evacuate out of the mall,” she said.
“I was shocked as I have not experienced a fire before. I did not know what to do until the security ushered us out of the mall. The smoke was choking but did not sting.”
SCDF confirmed the mall was evacuated by security personnel as a precautionary measure, and that the cause of fire is being investigated.
Mr Mustafa Abdul Rahim, general manager of Tampines Mall, said: "The fire was quickly put out. As a safety precaution, the centre management office evacuated all the shoppers and tenants in the mall.
"The SCDF arrived shortly to assess the situation. Tenants started to re-enter the mall at about 5.55pm and the mall reopened to the public at about 6.45pm.
"The safety and security of our shoppers and tenants is of paramount importance. We are giving our full cooperation to the authorities on their investigations into the cause of the fire.
Din Tai Fung, a Chinese restaurant at Tampines Mall, posted on Facebook informing customers that the outlet was temporarily closed.
"Due to unforeseen circumstances, our restaurant at Tampines Mall will be temporarily closed," it said.