Ceiling at JEM shopping mall collapses
SINGAPORE — JEM shopping centre has been cordoned off today (Sept 19), with security officials telling TODAY that the mall has been closed to the public, after a 50-metre portion of the ceiling at the first level of the mall collapsed last night.
In a statement this morning, mall operator Lend Lease said that it will not reopen JEM as a precautionary measure, until it is “satisfied with the safety of the site”. Lend Lease added that it is investigating the cause of the incident and is working closely with the authorities.
Earlier, at 7am, our reporter found all entrances to the building had been cordoned off. A sign posted outside the compound this morning stated: "We are not open today." Workers were also seen trying to clean up large puddles of water on the floor of the basement car park and at the first level.
Most JEM employees and staff of retail outlets were not allowed into the shopping centre this morning while cleaning-up operations were under way.
Three women sustained minor injuries in yesterday's incident and were sent to the National University Hospital.
A Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF) spokesman said it received a call at 10.14pm that “a part of the false ceiling” had collapsed. It dispatched seven vehicles, including two fire engines and an ambulance, to the scene.
The SCDF is investigating the cause of the incident. Eye-witnesses said that the ceiling appeared to have collapsed because of the weight of the water from a burst pipe. They added that there were not many shoppers around at the time.
When TODAY reached the scene yesterday, the mall had been cordoned off and SCDF personnel and the mall management staff were present. The representatives from the mall management said they were not authorised to speak to reporters.
The collapsed ceiling was along the corridor outside the shops. A pile of debris could be seen between the BreadTalk and Robinsons stores.
Speaking yesterday, Ms Liana Jaapar, 23, a sales assistant at a retail shop on the first floor of the mall, said that she was about to lock up the store when she heard a loud bang. She was with four colleagues and there were about five customers in the shop.