On Monday afternoon (1 August), a foreign domestic worker in her 30s was taken to the hospital after a suspected gas explosion had occurred in the house she was working in, located along Upper Paya Lebar road.
In the aftermath of the explosion, a video obtained by The Straits Times depicts a sliding door of the stove cabinet which had been completely blown off.
In addition, there were visible holes in the ceiling of the kitchen and chunks of debris on the floor.
At about 11.30am that day, a loud bang occured which could be heard throughout the neighbourhood.
Mr Lim, the domestic worker’s employer and a retiree in his 60s, then went into the kitchen to check what had happened.
That’s when he saw her running out of the kitchen.
“My maid was in a state of shock and there were cuts on her leg. The (sliding) door of the stove cabinet where the gas cylinder is kept had shattered into pieces on the kitchen floor,” Mr Lim told The Straits Times.
Mr Lim’s neighbour, Mr William Yap said he heard the explosion as he was cooking next door and was shocked by how loud it was. After checking that the explosion did not come from his own home, he ran next door to find out what had happened.
“There was no fire in the kitchen of the affected house where a number of neighbours had gathered outside. The maid’s leg was bleeding and she was too stunned to speak. I took a chair for her and went into the house to turn off the gas stove.”
Another neighbour, Mr Wilfred Liang, told The Straits Times that once he saw the situation unfold, he called the Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF). He added that the domestic helper looked visibly in pain and that she could barely stand up.
The SCDF arrived to the scene around 20 minutes after the explosion, at 11.50am.
“The fire had burnt itself out before firefighters arrived,” commented SCDF. The wreckage involved contents of a stove cabinet in the kitchen.
The Worker Sustained Cuts and Bruises
The injured party was rushed to the Raffles Hospital where she was treated for cuts and bruises she sustained on her legs from the explosion.
“The maid was visibly distressed, shaken by the event and was in tears,” the clinical case manager commented.
He also noted that there were multiple patches of redness and swelling on both her legs.
Thankfully, she did not sustain any visible head injuries and vital areas, and has since been discharged following the incident.
Mr Lim, who accompanied her to the hospital said that she came from Myanmar, and had been working for his household for over eight years.
One of Mr Lim’s neighbours also commented that he had not witnessed such an incident occur in over 40 years of living in that estate.
Rat Bites May Have Been The Cause
The cause of the fire is currently under investigation, and rats might have been the culprit, according to the company supplying gas to Mr Lim’s house.
Right after the incident occured, Mr Lim reached out to Tan Bros Gas Supply and subsequent checks on his home revealed that one of the gas cylinder hoses had been damaged.
The employee who conducted the checks told Mr Lim that a rat had likely bitten through the plastic pipe, causing gas to leak out and subsequently explode.
The Straits Times has since reached out to the gas company for further comment.
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