At about 11:50pm on Jan. 9, 2023, the Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF) was alerted to a fire at 12S East Coast Road.
A TikTok video, which has since been deleted, claimed that the firefighters were struggling to connect a water hose to a fire hydrant while the fire was ongoing.
Responding to media queries, SCDF said that its first resource, a light fire attack vehicle (LFAV), arrived within six minutes.
The fire was observed to be well alight at two units, threatening to spread to two adjacent units via the roof, added SCDF.
The LFAV crew immediately proceeded to the nearest hydrant to set up the water supply, which would be needed to operate the LFAV's water monitor.
Meanwhile, a fire engine arrived at around 11:57pm.
Firefighting operations soon commenced with two water jets drawing water from the fire engine's internal tank.
According to SCDF, a fire engine carries sufficient water to "immediately support firefighting operations for at least about 10mins before replenishment is needed".
Pit cover of hydrant was initially stuck
However, SCDF said that the pit cover of the nearest hydrant that the LFAV crew had attempted to use was stuck.
Attempts to dislodge it were initially unsuccessful, said SCDF.
The authority added that an assessment was then made to use the next nearest hydrant, which was 100m away from the affected units, as is standard procedure.
Water supply was established at about 12:06am.
"While a water supply hose from that hydrant was initially channelled to the LFAV's water monitor, a decision was made to quickly redirect it to the fire engine's water tank, which was necessary to ensure that there was no water disruption to the two water jets.
This was to enable uninterrupted firefighting efforts with the first two water jets."
Additional fire hydrants were used
Around 12:11am, subsequent arriving resources were deployed to the rear of the affected units to support the firefighting operation.
Two additional fire hydrants located in the vicinity were used to supply water to these resources.
At this point, the fire was "well developed and had spread to a total of four units," SCDF said.
Pit cover of first hydrant was dislodged
The pit cover of the first hydrant was finally dislodged after another attempt at around 12:35am.
Water was immediately tapped from the hydrant to support the firefighting operation.
With a total of four hydrants supplying water for the firefighting efforts, SCDF said that the strategy was "to surround and contain the fire to the affected units".
This included the deployment of an aerial water jet from the combined platform ladder, which helped to limit the spread of the fire and minimise the damage to neighbouring units.
Fire extinguished in about two hours
At around 12:40am, about 45 minutes after SCDF’s arrival, the fires were brought under control.
Water jets were then deployed into the affected units to fully extinguish the fires.
In total, six water jets, including an aerial water jet from the combined platform ladder, were deployed for the firefighting operation.
The fires were extinguished by SCDF in about two hours.
A total of 15 SCDF emergency vehicles and about 60 officers were deployed for this operation.
20 occupants from the affected units, as well as neighbouring units, were evacuated by the police as a precautionary measure.
One person was assessed by an SCDF paramedic for a minor burn injury and was conveyed to the Singapore General Hospital.
Cause of fire under investigation
Preliminary investigations into the cause of the fire revealed that it started from a bedroom on the second level of unit 12Q.
Further investigations to ascertain the cause of the fire are ongoing, said SCDF.
"Fire safety provisions in residential premises are crucial for residents’ safety and protection during a fire emergency. Operational tests are conducted annually on all hydrants in Singapore.
The last operational test of the hydrant conducted by SCDF with the stuck pit cover was in December 2021 and it was found to be in proper working condition. This hydrant would have been tested again within this work year, by March 2023."
Top images via SCDF.