Fire at East Coast food centre leaves 4 stalls in tatters

An early morning fire at East Coast Lagoon Food Village on Friday left four hawker stores completely damaged.

According to an article in The Straits Times Online, the fire affected stalls 54 to 57 which included drinks and food stalls, and one of the more famous satay stores in Singapore, Haron Satay.

The Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF) said they received a call at about 4:22 am.

Two fire-engines, two red-rhinos and two support vehicles were dispatched and the fire was put out in fifteen minutes.

Isnin B Salim, the owner of Ahmad Spring Cafe at stall 57 said, "I got in shock. I have three children, one who is schooling. We depend on this thing. I don't have any insurance for this store, and that is the big problem."

The owner of stall 54, Ms Zaiton Mohamed Nor, said she rushed to the scene after receiving a call from a neighbouring stallholder at about 6am.

"I reach here around 6:45am but the fire was extinguished by then", said Zaiton Mohamed Nor, who runs Dapur Kak Long.

"I notice that the damage was extensive. There was a smell of ash; a burnt charcoal smell," said Ms Zaiton, who estimated that she suffered over $20,000 of damage.

"We rushed down we see that it has already happened, and we feel bad becasue we have quite a lot of regular [customers] with orders. We took the orders already.", said Harlina Bte Haron, owner of Haron Satay at stall 55. She added that "the fire started from next door, and maybe it spread all over".

Another satay stall operator at store number 56, Mr Suradi Osman, said that SCDF officers told him the fire originated from the wiring from his unit, but he said he had switched everything off the night before, except for his freezer.

The food centre at East Coast park was supposed to close for repairs and redecoration works from August 19 to November 18, but because of the fire, some stall holders have no choice but to close early.

"I don't know how long it may take. Five or six months. Rental is hard to pay, and my children are schooling," Mr Salim said.

Ms Zaiton added that she may have to close early because of the fire.

"There is nothing we can do", she said.

Patrons who visited the food centre hope that business will get to normal soon.

People RazorTV spoke to said, "There are a few satay stores there. It is a pity for the sellers. This place is always crowded at night so I am not sure whether the other stores can cope."

Another patron said, "I hope that their livelihood is not too badly affected by it. Hopefully, they get back on their feet fast."

The National Environment Agency (NEA), which oversees the food centre said that the affected areas have been cordoned off, but it will be business as usual for the remaining 57 stalls.

SCDF is still investigating the cause of the fire.

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