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Apr 21, 2010

A Page from the Past - Robinson's Fire

Photo Credit : National Archives of Singapore, PICAS

Photo Credit: Derek Tait

The related blog topics are linked to "Robinsons Department Store" and "Raffles Place" written by Derek Tait and Jerome Lim respectively.

Robinson's Department Store at Raffles Place was destroyed by fire on 21 November 1972, with a loss estimated at over S$14 million. Nine people (eight of them employees of the company) died in the blaze which started at 9:55 am from a short circuit on the first floor of the four-storey building. (Source: Infopedia)

A page from the past of the Robinson's Department Store fire hazard which happened thirty-eight years ago is a grim reminder of loss of lives caused by fire to shoppers in public places.

On April 8, 2010, Little India's bustling Mustafa Centre was slapped with a court order to stop business on the ground floor with display counters and racks carrying items such as watches, toiletries and perfume. However, shoppers can still enter the building to browse and buy from the other three upper floors and two basement levels, including the supermarket.

The average daily visitors to Mustafa was estimated at 10,000 to 15,000 during weekends, based on the Straits Times reports on April 9, 2010.

According to the Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF), the order had obtained it because Mustafa had failed to fix its overcrowding problem and was a grave fire hazard.

This is the first time the SCDF had flexed its muscle this way, given that Mustafa had already imposed some crowd-control measures. An electronic people-counter was installed by Mustafa to control the over-crowding problems.

"SCDF does not tolerate behaviour which puts the safety of the public at risk...(it) will not hesitate to continue to take tough enforcement actions against recalcitrant offenders," SCDF said.

The Straits Times, Sunday, April 11, 2010 reported the headline "Ground floor of Mustafa reopens" after the end of a court-ordered "lockdown" of the 24-hour shopping mall's ground level.

Although the "lockdown" episode at Mustafa Centre is over, the authorities concerned are aware of the safety measures not to compromise the lives of everyone, including the employees.

In the fire at Robinson's at Raffle Place, those who destroyed were employees. My former colleague was working at Robinson's on the fateful day of the fire and was on annual leave. It was lucky to escape the blaze which nobody could know how it happened to him during the fire.



Blogger Icemoon said...

Very multiracial. I see English and Chinese characters. The last one looks like Arabic or Jawi script.

April 22, 2010 at 8:17 AM  
Blogger Thimbuktu said...

Hahaha. Thanks Icemoon. Translation just for fun from babelfish ; ) Other multi-languages cannot handle more.

April 22, 2010 at 4:43 PM  

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