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HomesingaporeTrain services resume at Novena, about two hours after MRT station was...

Train services resume at Novena, about two hours after MRT station was shut due to smoke

SINGAPORE: Novena MRT station on the North-South Line was closed for about two hours on Friday evening (Oct 27) after white smoke and a burning smell briefly filled the concourse area. 

The Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF) said it was alerted to the incident at about 5.30pm, and that the smoke had dissipated by the time it arrived. 

Preliminary investigations by SCDF and train operator SMRT showed that the white smoke came from the motor of an air handling unit in a room at the concourse level.

“SMRT has since isolated the air handling unit system to facilitate further investigation,” said SCDF, adding that no injuries were reported. 

Facebook user Adrian Choo posted a video at 5.40pm showing smoke at Novena MRT station. He said a message to evacuate had been announced.

Several SCDF vehicles were seen outside the train station. 

The incident affected the peak-hour commute, with trains skipping Novena station in both directions.

SMRT announced that free regular bus and bus bridging services were available between Toa Payoh and Newton in both directions. 

When contacted during the station closure for more information about the incident, SMRT referred CNA to its social media channels.

A member of the public was seen helping direct pedestrians away from the station entrance. The man, who wanted to be known only as Vijay, said he jumped in to help out as the station staff seemed really busy.

The station later reopened at about 7.30pm. 

Mr Choo told CNA that he was heading to Novena station after work when he saw a group of people milling around. 

“There was a smell of smoke and burnt rubber,” he said, adding that he noticed white smoke rising from the train platform area. 

The 51-year-old later left to wait for a Grab car at Velocity shopping mall, which is connected to the station.

He noted heavy traffic in the area due to ongoing roadworks and said that fire engines had a hard time coming in.

He added that the situation at the train station was calm, with bystanders taking photos and videos.

Madam Lily Tan, 55, said she was shocked to hear about the station closure. CNA overheard her asking an SMRT staff member about how to proceed.

“I was here to have tea and shop with a friend and I want to go home, but it’s going to take a long time now,” she lamented, clutching a piece of paper that listed the free bus services available.

Another commuter, who gave his name as Mr Dhanash, said that the roads around Velocity during normal times are already clogged due to roadworks. The 34-year-old works at the nearby Ren Ci Community Hospital and takes the train home daily.

“Now it’s like hell,” he added. “Everyone is pushing around and trying to get on the bus.

“But I hope no one is injured (from what happened in the MRT station).”

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