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White Smoke Shuts Down Novena MRT For 2 Hours, Source Was Air Handling Unit

Novena MRT Shuts Down For 2 Hours During Peak Hour Due To White Smoke

Frequent MRT commuters may be used to crowded trains and the occasional breakdown, but white smoke would be cause for further concern.

On Friday (27 Oct), white smoke was observed at Novena MRT station, causing the station to be shut down for about two hours.

Source: Adrian Choo on Facebook

The station was eventually reopened after it was found that the source of the smoke was an Air Handling Unit (AHU).

Novena MRT closed due to ‘incident’

At 5.49pm on Friday (27 Oct), SMRT alerted the public to an unspecified “incident” at Novena MRT.

The station was thus closed, meaning trains in both directions did not stop there.

Source: SMRT on Facebook

Free regular bus and bridging bus services were available between Newton and Toa Payoh stations.

Online videos show smoke filling Novena MRT

While the authorities didn’t reveal details on the exact nature of the incident, netizens as usual provided some answers.

One posted a video of the smoke-filled interior of Novena station, saying it smelt of burnt rubber.

He added that he’d heard an announcement advising commuters to evacuate the station. The area outside the gantries was filled with people who were seemingly evacuated.

Source: Adrian Choo on Facebook

Another video on TikTok showed people calmly exiting the station amid the smoke.

Source: @nidentified71 on TikTok

An update by SMRT at 6.28pm said they activated the Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF) after station staff detected smoke inside the station. However, no smoke was detected in the tunnel.

Source: SMRT on Facebook

Commuters were evacuated and the station was closed for safety reasons.

SCDF alerted to incident, dispatches team to scene

At 6.37pm, the SCDF posted on Facebook that they were alerted to the incident at 5.30pm, and dispatched a team to the scene.

Source: Singapore Civil Defence Force on Facebook

Sure enough, a number of SCDF vehicles were seen outside Novena Square, which is on top of the MRT station.

Source: Adrian Choo on Facebook

SCDF firefighters were also seen entering the closed station.

Source: @nidentified71 on TikTok

Novena MRT white smoke was from AHU: SCDF

Finally, at 7.18pm the SCDF updated that the smoke had dissipated when they arrived.

Source: Singapore Civil Defence Force on Facebook

Preliminary investigations showed that the smoke had come from the motor of an AHU.

The AHU was located inside a room at the concourse level and has been isolated for further investigation.

Thankfully, no injuries were reported.

Station reopens after 2 hours

At 7.37pm — about two hours after the smoke was detected — SMRT said that Novena MRT station had been reopened for normal service.

Source: SMRT on Facebook

That meant that train services in both directions were fully restored.

Like the SCDF, they said the white smoke had come from an AHU, specifically its motor.

They apologised for the inconvenience caused to the public.

Other cases of smoke in the MRT

Today’s incident was sadly not the first time that smoke caused alarm in Singapore’s MRT system.

Just last month, white smoke filled the cabin of a train approaching City Hall MRT, forcing an evacuation when it reached the station.

SMRT later found the cause to be a refrigerant gas leak and withdrew the train from service.

In May 2022, a train was evacuated at Kembangan station due to white smoke being detected.

The incident was caused by a leaking air-con compressor, SMRT said.

Perhaps it may be a good idea to bring along one of our unused Covid-era masks the next time we take the MRT, just in case.

Have news you must share? Get in touch with us via email at news@mustsharenews.com

Featured image adapted from @nidentified71 on TikTok.

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