Novena MRT Station Smoke Incident: Swift Response Amidst Chao
Working in the MRT system in Singapore is undeniably one of the most challenging professions. The majority of Singaporeans rely on the MRT for their daily commute, especially considering the high costs associated with owning a car in the city-state. The MRT system is deeply woven into the fabric of our daily lives, and even minor train delays can lead to significant disruptions.
A minor train malfunction in a central MRT station can be particularly problematic.
This was evident from the incident at the Novena MRT station on 27 October, which unfortunately occurred on a Friday evening, a day when many are eager to wind down their week.
Heavy Smoke Engulfs Novena Station
If you’re an avid reader of Goody Feed, you might have come across reports of white smoke and a burnt odor permeating train cabins in the past.
However, this incident was different.
Imagine not just a single train cabin, but the entire train concourse filled with white smoke, its acrid smell hanging heavily in the air. This alarming scene unfolded around 5:30 pm that day.
Efficient Yet Extensive Evacuation Operations
The sudden appearance of smoke during the bustling peak hour understandably caused panic among the commuters.
However, the MRT staff at Novena station responded with commendable speed and efficiency. Upon detecting the smoke and the faint scent of something burning, the Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF) was promptly informed.
Without delay, the Novena MRT station was shut down, and evacuation announcements were made.
MRT personnel, including some senior staff, were stationed at the entrances to guide passengers and pedestrians away from the affected area. Hearteningly, even some members of the public pitched in to assist the overwhelmed station staff during the evacuation.
The Culprit: Air Handling Unit
By the time the SCDF arrived on the scene, the smoke had dissipated.
Nevertheless, a thorough investigation was initiated.
Within a mere three hours post the incident, preliminary findings, in collaboration with SMRT, were made public.
The source of the smoke was identified as the motor of an Air Handling Unit (AHU) located in a room at the concourse level.
Ironically, an AHU is designed to ensure proper ventilation, filtering, and air conditioning.
While in-depth investigations are ongoing, SMRT has isolated the malfunctioning AHU to prevent further issues.
Swift Response, Yet Public Discontent
While Singaporeans appreciated the swift investigative actions, many were disgruntled by the extended travel times. The inconvenience of having to opt for a longer route instead of a direct one was a significant annoyance.
During the two-hour shutdown, the Novena bus stop was overcrowded, reminiscent of a can of packed sardines.
It’s essential to note that the Novena MRT station is strategically located near several malls and hospitals. The surrounding roads, already congested due to ongoing construction, became even more challenging to navigate.
Additionally, space had to be made for the SCDF fire trucks.
The scene eerily reminded many of the tragic Halloween Stampede in South Korea the previous year, which resulted in over 151 fatalities.
Fortunately, in this instance, the situation was managed effectively, and no injuries were reported during the brief station closure.