At 0720hrs, SCDF responded to a rescue incident at an underground construction site, 15metres below road surface, near the junction of Rochor Road and Victoria Street with 2 Fire-Bikes, 1 Fire Engine, 2 Red Rhinos, 2 Ambulances and 3 Supporting Vehicles.
SCDF forces arrived within 5 minutes. Upon arrival, SCDF was informed by the construction site manager that 2 workers were unaccounted for when scaffolding structure at the underground construction site suddenly gave way while wet cement was being poured at the site.
SCDF firefighters and members of SCDF’s elite Disaster Assistance and Rescue Team (DART) immediately conducted a search operation for the 2 workers within an area of wet cement measuring 30metres by 5metres at the underground construction site.
The search operation involved SCDF personnel lifting planks of wooden structures and using oxy-acetylene torch to cut many scaffolding metal rods that had fallen onto the wet cement. Thereafter SCDF personnel had to submerge themselves into the waist deep wet cement to manually comb the entire 30metres by 5 metres area in search of the 2 workers. The SCDF personnel also used 2 high pressure water jets to prevent the wet cement from drying up completely and hardening as this would complicate the search and extrication operation.
The first body was found by the SCDF DART personnel at 1040hrs fully submerged in the wet cement and was extricated an hour later due to the partial hardening of the cement. At 1245hrs, the second body was found at approximately 1 metre away from the first body. Besides being partially hardened by the cement, the second body was also pinned down by several scaffolding metal rods and SCDF DART personnel had to cut these rods by means of oxy-acetylene torch. The body was extricated at 1605hrs.
Despite wearing protective gears, 9 DART personnel, who had submerged into the waist deep wet cement to conduct the search and extrication operations, sustained chemical burns on their limbs. The injury was due to alkaline reaction arising from these rescuers inevitably coming into close contact with the chemical additives in the cement during the search and extrication operation.
The 9 injured DART personnel were immediately rendered on-site medical attention by SCDF paramedics and conveyed to Singapore General Hospital.
(1) SCDF paramedics pronounced 2 male workers dead at scene.
(2) 9 DART personnel, 2 Chinese and 7 Malays, were conveyed to SGH for chemical burns on their limbs.