30 People in Bishan Evacuated After Manhole Made Explosive Sounds & Emitted Black Smoke


Just today (23 February 2023), 30 Bishan residents had to evacuate after a manhole emits black smoke and loud noises.

Image: LianHe ZaoBao

At 11.20 am, the Singapore Civil Defence (SCDF) received a call near 34 Binchang Rise (area near Bishan street 21 lined with private properties), requesting assistance.

Arriving at the Scene

Firefighters who arrived at the scene used a thermal imager to detect a heat signature being emitted from a manhole near the properties.

Thankfully, there was no fire but SCDF found burn marks on the insulation sleeves of some electrical cables in the manhole.

Officers from the SCDF’s hazardous material response team and Singapore Police Force (SPF) were also present at the scene, alongside their fellow firefighters, according to Lianhe Zaobao.

What They Did

After pumping water into the manhole to cool it down, SCDF used a hazardous substance detector to determine if there were any dangerous substances present.

Chen, a resident, said to the Chinese media that his family heard loud noises, almost like explosions 10 minutes before the SCDF arrived at the scene. After he left to check it out, he noticed that there was black smoke coming out from the sewer even though the manhole cover didn’t fly out.

Luckily, no one was hurt, and SCDF and SPF are still investigating the cause of the black smoke.


Even though this incident may not exactly be avoidable, it is still known that the one of the top causes of house fires are electrical fires that are caused by faulty electrical appliances or wiring.

In 2022, there is a drop in residential fires in Singapore, from 1,235 cases in 2018 to 934 cases in 2022.

However, the number of residential fires remained constantly in the 250 to 300 range each year. The most recent number was 257.


Tips to Prevent an Electrical fire

Here are some tips to prevent an electrical fire:

  • Check for loose-fitting plugs
  • Replace missing/broken wall plates so that components are not exposed
  • Never force plugs into outlets
  • Avoid overloading outlets with adapters and too many appliance plugs
  • Make sure wires are not frayed or cracked
Image: SCDF