1 dead, 2 taken to hospital after 'localised explosion' in electrical switch room at Tuas incineration plant
SINGAPORE: A man died and two others were taken to hospital for burn injuries after a "localised explosion" in an electrical switch room at Tuas incineration plant on Thursday (Sep 23).
The Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF) said firefighters responded to a fire at the plant at about 3.15pm.
Firefighters arrived to find an electrical switch room that was smoke-logged. Wearing breathing apparatus, they entered and found that the fire involved a chimney fan switch in the switch room.
They extinguished "a few pockets of fire" with two dry powder fire extinguishers, said SCDF.
The National Environment Agency (NEA), which operates the plant, said in a statement that there was a “localised explosion” in the electrical switch room.
A 65-year-old man was pronounced dead at the scene by an SCDF paramedic.
The two men who suffered burn injuries, aged 59 and 64, were taken to Singapore General Hospital.
"Patients who suffered smoke inhalation or serious burn injuries but are in stable condition will be conveyed to Singapore General Hospital's specialised Burn Centre instead of the nearest hospital," said SCDF in a Facebook post.
All three workers are Singaporeans, said Minister for Sustainability and the Environment Grace Fu, who expressed her "deepest condolences" to their families.
In a Facebook post, Ms Fu said the workers were conducting electrical maintenance work in the switch room when the explosion happened.
"The explosion was contained within the electrical room and did not spread to the rest of the premises," she added.
"We will investigate the cause of this tragic incident to prevent any future occurrences."
About 80 people had self-evacuated from the premises, said SCDF, adding that it is investigating the cause of the fire.
NEA said it is in contact with its officers' family members and providing all assistance possible.
"All other TIP (Tuas incineration plant) workers are safe. Operations at the plant have been safely wound down," the agency added.
The police said investigations are ongoing.
The Amalgamated Union of Public Employees (AUPE) said on Friday that it is working closely with NEA to provide assistance to the officers and their families.
"We are deeply saddened by the tragic accident at the NEA's Tuas incineration plant and would like to convey our deepest condolences to the family of the victim. Our hearts are also with the officers who are hospitalised and we wish them a speedy recovery," said AUPE in a Facebook post.
"Union members from the incineration plant can also reach out to us if they need someone to speak to," it added.