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Switch room explosion at Tuas incineration plant kills 65-year-old worker, injures 2 others

SINGAPORE — A 65-year-old worker has died and two others have been taken to the hospital with burn injuries after a “localised explosion" took place in an electrical switch room at the Tuas Incineration Plant on Thursday (Sept 23).

Switch room explosion at Tuas incineration plant kills 65-year-old worker, injures 2 others

The Singapore Civil Defence Force responded to a fire at 20 Tuas Avenue 20 at about 3.15pm on Sept 23, 2021.

SINGAPORE — A 65-year-old worker has died and two others have been taken to the hospital with burn injuries after a “localised explosion" took place in an electrical switch room at the Tuas Incineration Plant on Thursday (Sept 23).

About 80 people self-evacuated from the premises, the Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF) said in a Facebook post.

SCDF said that it responded to a fire at 20 Tuas Avenue 20 at about 3.15pm and upon arrival, found that an electrical switch room on the first floor was smoke-logged.

Its firefighters, wearing breathing apparatus sets, entered the premises cautiously to locate the fire, which is linked to a chimney fan switch in the electrical switchroom.

Firefighters extinguished a few pockets of fire with two dry powder fire extinguishers.

“SCDF conveyed two persons to the Singapore General Hospital for burn injuries. A person was pronounced dead at the scene by an SCDF paramedic,” it said.

Patients who suffer smoke inhalation or serious burn injuries but are in stable condition will be taken to Singapore General Hospital's specialised burn centre instead of the nearest hospital.

SCDF added that it is investigating the cause of the fire.

The police said that they were alerted to the incident at 3.15pm and a 65-year-old man was found lying motionless at the plant. He was pronounced dead at the scene by a paramedic. 

The two other men, aged 59 and 64, were taken to the hospital. 

Police investigations are ongoing.

The National Environment Agency (NEA), which runs the plant, said that technicians were operating the high-tension electrical switch gear for maintenance work when the explosion happened. 

It added that operations at the plant have been safely wound down.

“The National Environment Agency is in contact with our officers’ family members and providing all assistance possible,” the agency said, adding that all other workers of the plant are safe.

The Ministry of Manpower said in the statement that it is investigating the incident and have instructed the occupier, NEA, to stop all electrical maintenance work there.

Ms Grace Fu, Minister for Sustainability and the Environment, referred to Thursday’s incident as “unfortunate and upsetting”.

She said in a Facebook post that all three men are Singaporeans and the explosion was contained within the electrical room and did not spread to the rest of the premises.

“I am deeply saddened by this incident, and would like to convey my deepest condolences to the families of the victims. We will investigate the cause of this tragic incident to prevent any future occurrences,” she said.

In February, an explosion at a building located at 32E Tuas Avenue 10 killed three workers and injured seven others. An inquiry into the deaths and how it happened, which began on Monday, is ongoing. 

Related topics

Tuas explosion death NEA incineration plant

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