Large fire breaks out in Singapore’s Little India

The Singapore Civil Defence Force responded to the fire at 14 Dickson Road May 16, 2019. — Nuria Ling/TODAY pic
The Singapore Civil Defence Force responded to the fire at 14 Dickson Road May 16, 2019. — Nuria Ling/TODAY pic

SINGAPORE, May 16 — A fire broke out in Little India this afternoon, with witnesses reporting a 40m-high column of smoke rising from a shophouse in the area.

The Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF) said in a Facebook post at around 3pm that it had been alerted to a fire at 14 Dickson Road, and that firefighters were at the scene.

Photos and videos of black smoke coming from a building in the area were posted on social media. TODAY understands that the fire occurred at a second-hand goods shop.

As at 5pm, segments of Dickson Road and Perak Road were seen cordoned off by police.

The Singapore Civil Defence Force conducts firefighting operations at 14 Dickson Road May 16, 2019. — Nuria Ling/TODAY pic
The Singapore Civil Defence Force conducts firefighting operations at 14 Dickson Road May 16, 2019. — Nuria Ling/TODAY pic

Shalani Devi, 20, an intern at Singlit Station, said that she was in the second floor of a building adjacent to the site of the fire, when she heard loud popping sounds that were like “mini-explosions”, from her seat.

She then heard shouts and police sirens, and thought that a fight had broken out at a nearby bar.

When she looked out of her window, she noticed that there was grey smoke outside, and many people standing across the street filming the scene with their phones.

When she went down to the first floor to check what was going on, a police officer approached her and told her to evacuate. Devi added she believes that the loud popping sound was from the tiles of the roof.

Little India up in smoke May 16, 2019. — Picture from Aisyah Wong/Facebook via TODAY
Little India up in smoke May 16, 2019. — Picture from Aisyah Wong/Facebook via TODAY

Alagappan Velu, 33, an engineer, chanced upon the “very large fire” when he met his friend at the junction of Perak Road and Dickson Road at 2.56pm.

“There was a very large column of black smoke rising from the building, about 40 metres high,” he said.

“I saw about three people running out of the building that was on fire,” he added.

Both Devi and Velu added that they did not hear any fire alarms.

“I was sleeping on the second floor of a nearby building when my landlord ran up and shouted at me to evacuate”, Peter Lim, 52, a salesman, said.

“I quickly grabbed my dog, ran out and saw a huge fire at a nearby building. There was a lot of black smoke, he added. — TODAY