Fire extinguisher bursts, smashes through glass facade of Singapore skyscraper's 23rd floor


The fire extinguisher smashed through the glass facade of the Gateway West building. - ST

SINGAPORE (The Straits Times/ANN): A fire extinguisher burst and shot out of the 23rd storey of a skyscraper on Beach Road on Tuesday morning (Aug 10). It smashed through the glass facade of The Gateway West building as it did so.

The projectile is believed to have hurtled downwards and ricocheted off the ground floor courtyard, crashing into the glass panels on the first storey of the opposite building, The Gateway East. The buildings are about 50m apart.

The device was understood to be past its expiry.

In a statement to The Straits Times, a spokesman for Singapore Land Group - which manages The Gateway, comprising the two buildings - said the incident happened at about 10.30am in a vacant unit where a contractor was carrying out reinstatement works.

"Fortunately, no one was hurt," she said.

"Further investigations into the cause of the incident are still ongoing."

The spokesman added that the fire extinguisher belonged to a tenant, and that security personnel had responded immediately.

"The safety of our tenants and the public remains our priority, and we are working with relevant parties to ensure the well-being of all," she said.

The iconic Gateway is a 37-storey skyscraper complex designed by architect I.M. Pei, who most famously designed the Louvre Pyramid in Paris.

It was completed in 1990, and is known for its trapezoidal shape that gives the illusion of being two-dimensional when viewed from certain angles.

On Tuesday afternoon, a gaping hole was visible in the side of Gateway West on the 23rd storey.

The courtyard between the two buildings was cordoned off, and wooden boards had been put up in the glass facade of the Gateway East ground floor lobby.

According to the Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF) website, portable fire extinguishers need to be compliant with regulations and should be charged, tested and maintained in fully operational condition.

The owner or occupant is advised to check extinguishers on at least a monthly basis.

"The owner or occupant of the premises is responsible for the inspection and maintenance of the fire extinguishers installed in the premises," said the SCDF.

"The maintenance and servicing of portable extinguishers can only be carried out by qualified and trained persons in proper workshops of a certified servicing company."

A full list of such certified companies can be found on the SCDF's website. - The Straits Times/Asia News Network

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