Tuesday, 15 December 2015

Orchard Road XMAS 2015 Happenings


1. Xmas tree caught fire
2. Lamp post caught fire
3. Man dies in Wisma
4. Hilton Hotel ground floor roof/ledge collapses
5. Orchard Central power outage due to heavy rain
6. Falling concrete slab narrowly misses passers-by outside Orchard Plaza

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Roof collapses at Hilton Hotel driveway proves Orchard Road is breaking down

On Thursday, Dec. 10, decorations tied to a street lamp outside Peranakan Place spontaneously caught fire at about 9.10pm. A week earlier, on Dec. 2, a Christmas tree outside the Abercrombie & Fitch outlet at Knightsbridge mall at Orchard Road caught fire and burst into flames also at about 9pm.

On Friday, Dec. 11, a tree came crashing down on the road in front of Orchard Central mall after being battered by heavy rain, as parts of Orchard Road became flooded.

On Saturday, Dec. 12, a power outage — believed to have been caused by the flood the previous day — hit Orchard Central at 2pm, forcing some shops to close early for the day. Power was restored at some parts of the shopping mall later in the day, but some retailers were forced to close early.

On Sunday, Dec. 13, part of the roof over the driveway of Hilton Singapore hotel collapsed, proving Volvo manufactures sturdy vehicles, in what has become a positive piece of news for the automobile maker and a more negative one for insurers.

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A series of unfortunate events nearing this Christmas

Christmas is a season for joy and celebration. For many, Orchard Road is the symbol of Christmas in Singapore, for without its dazzling and kaleidoscopic lights, Christmas would seem incomplete.

However, the festive mood of the magical season has been dampened by Orchard Road’s share of mishaps. These misfortunes include a Christmas decorations bursting into flames, things falling from above, and a blackout which disrupted both shoppers and storeowners plans.

MustShareNews.com examines the 7 incidents thus far that have defined The Curse of Orchard:
Christmas tree devoured by flames at Orchard Road (2 Dec)

Christmas decorations catches fire (10 Dec)

A man falls from the 5th floor of Wisma Atria (10 Dec)

Tree falls on Orchard Road, blocks traffic (11 Dec)

Falling concrete slab narrowly misses people below (12 Dec)

Hilton Hotel driveway roof collapses, injures 4 (13 Dec)

The blackout at Orchard Central Mall (14 Dec)

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The rain (again) in Orchard Road

AFTER the General Manager of Hilton Singapore blamed the rain for the collapse of its driveway ceiling on Sunday, building experts have come out to back his claim, saying that the abnormal volume of rain might have leaked into the false ceiling, which is not designed to bear with this excessive weight. Singapore has witnessed its highest amount of rainfall in six years, and the Orchard Road area recorded the highest rainfall in the city of 327mm.

This, however, was not an isolated rain related incident in the shopping belt over the last two weeks. A water seepage from heavy rain was confirmed to have caused a power cut in Orchard Central mall on Saturday, forcing the mall to close early on a busy holiday shopping day. Heavy rain also reportedly caused a tree to fall on Orchard Road on Friday, blocking the movement of traffic.

The shopping belt has had a turbulent history with the rain disrupting its businesses. Here are a few recent incidents of flooding at Orchard Road and what was done about it.

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Morning call, December 14 2015

Yesterday, a driveway ceiling at the Hilton Hotel in Orchard Road collapsed, sending four people to the hospital for minor injuries. The accident was reported widely, especially on social media, as it follows a string of unfortunate incidents that have happened this month in the major shopping district.

On Saturday, water seepage from the rain plunged Orchard Central mall into darkness, forcing shops to close on a potentially lucrative weekend ahead of the Christmas holiday.

On Friday, a man fell to his death inside Wisma Atria. And just days before that, two Christmas decorations, including a large tree outside Knightsbridge, caught fire, alarming passers-by.

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Christmas tree on fire outside Abercrombie & Fitch at Orchard Road is what Hell looks like on a balmy Wednesday

A Christmas tree outside the Abercrombie & Fitch outlet at Knightsbridge mall at Orchard Road caught fire and burst into flames on Wednesday night at around 9pm, giving shoppers a glimpse of what Hell would have looked like on a balmy weekday evening.

Check out the billowing smoke where you can half expect Satan Himself to show up!

Security guards in the area managed to put out the flames before the Singapore Civil Defence Force personnel arrived at the scene.

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Orchard Road Christmas tree catches fire

A Christmas tree outside a shopping mall on Orchard Road burst into flames on Wednesday night (Dec 2).

Passers-by posted photos of the blaze on social media.

In some videos, pedestrians were seen fleeing from the blaze which produced flames up to two storeys high and a thick cloud of black smoke.

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Christmas tree along Orchard Road catches fire
A Christmas tree located outside Topshop at Knightsbridge mall along Orchard Road caught fire on Wednesday, Dec 2

Bank analyst Kai Xian, 27, told AsiaOne in a phone interview that he was near the scene and witnessed the incident just as it began at about 9pm.

"I had just stepped out of Takashimaya department store when I saw sparks of flames from a distance," he said.

"Luckily the tree was not connected to anything else because there was no sign of security to properly handle the situation."

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Christmas decorations on Orchard Road catch fire again

Just over a week after a large Christmas tree went up in flames spectacularly along Orchard Road, another piece of street decor caught fire.

This time, the fire involved decorations tied to a street lamp outside Peranakan Place. A witness, Jonathan Ng, who is a JC student, saw the fire raging at about 9.10pm on Thursday (Dec 10) and said "everyone was taking photos".

The Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF) said it was alerted to the fire at 8.57pm. Officers extinguished the fire with a hose reel jet and a compressed air foam backpack. No injuries were reported.

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Heavy downpour causes flash floods around Singapore
The tree that fell over on Dec 11. (Photo: Ray Rascal)

High water levels were reported in the Thomson and Novena areas, while part of Orchard Road was reportedly blocked when a tree fell.

On Orchard Road, a tree came crashing down on the road in front of Orchard Central mall.

A man was spotted redirecting traffic there, as the fallen tree had blocked off at least one lane. Twitter user @MahaBornFree tweeted a photo of his good deed, labeling him a "kind soul".

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Heavy downpour causes flash floods, fallen tree round Singapore

A heavy downpour on Friday (Dec 11) caused flash floods and a falling tree across various parts of Singapore.

High water levels were reported in the Thomson and Novena areas, while part of Orchard Road was reportedly blocked when a tree fell.

The Land Transport Authority also reported an obstacle on Orchard Road (towards Bras Basah Road) after Grange Road.

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Heavy downpour causes flash floods, fallen tree round Singapore

High water levels were reported in the Thomson and Novena areas, while part of Orchard Road was reportedly blocked when a tree fell.

National water agency PUB reported flash floods at Cambridge Road (near Pek Kio CC), at Boon Lay Way / Corporation Road, Thomson Road (near Novena Rise), Mandalay Road / Balestier Road and Boon Keng Road / Bendemeer Road.

The Land Transport Authority also reported an obstacle on Orchard Road (towards Bras Basah Road) after Grange Road.

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Power outage at Orchard Central forces some shops to close early
Orchard Central was hit by a power outage on Dec 12, 2015.ST FILE PHOTO

A power outage hit Orchard Central on Saturday (Dec 12) afternoon, forcing some shops to close early for the day.

The problem occurred at about 2pm. Power was restored at some parts of the shopping mall later in the day.

By Sunday early morning, power had returned to all the shops at Orchard Central, but some escalators and the lighting on the facade of the building were still affected, said Mr Eric Tong, assistant director of retail business at Far East Organization.

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Orchard Central blackout caused by heavy rain
GLOOMY DAY: Kids play with a light during the blackout at Orchard Central on Saturday which forced many shops and restaurants to shut early and lose business.PHOTO: THE NEW PAPER

SHOPPERS in Orchard Central were plunged into darkness on Saturday afternoon as water seepage from a heavy downpour caused a blackout.

Restaurants had to cancel dinner bookings and retailers saw customers walking out. Many shops were forced to close early, losing business on an otherwise busy weekend in the run-up to the festive season.

The power outage at around 2pm affected about 50 shops in the mall's east wing. Power was restored in some shops as well as the lifts within a couple of hours but resumed fully for all the shops only at around 1.30am yesterday.

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Gory scene at Wisma Atria after man plunges several storeys
Police were activated to Wisma Atria shopping centre after a man was reported to have plunged several storeys inside the mall at Orchard Road

The 48-year-old man who jumped from the fifth floor of Wisma Atria shopping mall has died, The Straits Times reported. He was reportedly sent unconscious to Singapore General Hospital where he later died from his injuries. Police are investigating the incident as a case of unnatural death.

Police were activated to Wisma Atria shopping centre after a man was reported to have plunged several storeys inside the mall at Orchard Road.

A spokesman from YTL Starhill Global REIT, which manages the mall, said the man appeared to have jumped from the fifth floor next to the escalator based on CCTV footage, The Straits Times reported.

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Man Falls 5 Storeys From Wisma Atria; An Accident Or Suicide?

At approximately 9.50pm yesterday (10 Dec), shoppers heard a loud thud and were greeted with a nasty shock as a man fell 5 storeys down from Wisma Atria shopping centre.

The police later announced that the 48-year-old Indonesian man passed away at Singapore General Hospital (SGH), and will be investigating this case as an unnatural death.

Did the man fall or jump from the 5th floor of Wisma?

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Man dies after falling several storeys at Wisma Atria mall


A 48-year-old Indonesian man has died after falling several storeys inside Wisma Atria mall on Thursday night (Dec 10), said police.


Eyewitnesses said they saw the man land on the first floor near the escalators with a loud thud. He was sent unconscious to Singapore General Hospital, and he later died from his injuries, said police in response to media queries on Friday. The police added that they are investigating the incident as a case of unnatural death.

The mall's management YTL Starhill Global REIT told Channel NewsAsia the incident happened at 9.50pm and that no safety lapses were found in their investigations following the incident.

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Man dies after falling from height in Wisma Atria mall
Police at the scene inside Wisma Atria shopping centre this evening. Photo: Jason Quah

An eye witness told Channel NewsAsia that he had heard a loud thud during the time of the incident, before he saw a "Chinese man ... lying face down in a pool of blood".

The eye witness, who also declined to be named and reportedly works as a medic at a private ambulance company, said that he, his girlfriend and three other off-duty officers tried to resuscitate the man before the police and paramedics arrived at the scene.

"When we first came to him, he had no pulse for about 15 minutes," he said. "After the paramedics came and gave him some CPR, he had a very faint pulse."

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FALLING CONCRETE SLAB NARROWLY MISSES PASSERS-BY IN ORCHARD
STRUCTURALLY SAFE: The cladding from the overhead bridge outside Orchard Plaza fell at 3.20am yesterday. TNP PHOTO: DALENE LOW

Mr David, who alerted The New Paper to the incident, said: "They were very lucky because their lives could have been lost.

"It was very sudden and I was astonished. I never expected it."

When TNP visited the site at around 11am on Wednesday, police had cordoned off the area surrounding the slabs of concrete and bent metal pieces.

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Falling concrete slab narrowly misses passers-by in Orchard
A slab of concrete fell from a pedestrian bridge outside Orchard Plaza on Wednesday morning. PHOTO: THE NEW PAPER

Two women escaped being injured by a slab of concrete that fell from a pedestrian bridge outside Orchard Plaza early Wednesday morning.

Just minutes before the concrete fell, the women had walked under the bridge linking Cuppage Plaza and Orchard Plaza.

A witness, who wanted to be known only as Mr David, 48, said he had stepped out of a pub in Cuppage Plaza for a smoke when he heard a loud thud across the road, about three minutes after the two women walked past.

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HUGE CONCRETE SLAB FALLS OFF BRIDGE IN ORCHARD NARROWLY MISSING PEDESTRIANS
Early this morning at 3:20am, a huge piece of concrete slab fell from a bridge outside Orchard plaza, narrowly missing 2 women who were walking under it just a few minutes ago. Thankfully, no one was reported to be injured

A witness who the incident, Mr. David, said "They were very lucky because their lives could have been lost. It was very sudden and I was astonished. I never expected it."

The spot is a popular place for smokers and shop keepers to hang around and chat with each other and usually there will be around 7-8 people there at any one time.

Orchard road seems to be having a spade of bad luck recently with Christmas trees and decorations catching fire and now a slab of concrete falling from a bridge. Will you still visit Orchard road during this period?

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Ceiling collapses on Hilton Singapore hotel driveway, at least two sent to hospital
Part of the ceiling over the driveway of Hilton Singapore hotel collapsed on Sunday (Dec 13). An eyewitness sent photos to Channel NewsAsia, sharing that the incident occurred at about 3pm

Two cars, one a Malaysian-registered SUV, were at the hotel's front porch when the incident happened. 

A Channel NewsAsia reporter at the scene said that two police cars arrived in the first few minutes, followed by the Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF) at 4pm. SCDF told Channel NewsAsia it deployed one fire engine and one ambulance in total to Hilton hotel that day.

Officers spent about 10 minutes inspecting the wreckage, which was occupying the entire hotel front porch, our reporter said.  During the inspection, only guests were allowed through the entrance, according to a hotel representative.

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Rain may have caused Hilton's ceiling collapse
MESSY AFTERMATH: The Hilton hotel's driveway ceiling, which is made of plasterboard with an aluminium frame, collapsed yesterday afternoon, damaging a black car and a white taxi. Four people were taken to hospital, said the SCDF.ST PHOTO: MARK CHEONG

TWO families on holiday were caught by surprise when the ceiling of the driveway at Hilton Singapore fell on the vehicles they were in yesterday.

A black car and a white taxi were caught under the debris. A luggage trolley and a few bags also appeared to be crushed.

Cab driver Ong Wee Hian, 60, said his passengers were an Indonesian family with two children. They were unloading luggage and Mr Ong was closing the boot when the ceiling cracked and fell.

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Ceiling over Hilton hotel driveway collapses, 4 taken to hospital
Part of the ceiling over the driveway of the Hilton Singapore hotel at Orchard Road collapsed on Sunday (Dec 13)

A Channel NewsAsia reporter at the scene said that two police cars arrived in the first few minutes, followed by the Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF) at 4pm.

Mr Peter Webster, Hilton regional manager, said a doorman heard a sound at around 2.50pm. The SCDF dispatched one ambulance and one fire engine.

He said two people were sent to hospital for "shock and minor bumps".

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