SINGAPORE — Two hours after commuters were evacuated after staff detected smoke inside Novena MRT station, services resumed there on Friday evening (Oct 27).
Commuters were evacuated from Novena station after the white smoke was detected at around 5.30pm.
Train services at the station were halted, with commuters redirected to free regular and bridging buses at two bus stops on opposite sides of Thomson Road. The buses go to either Newton or Toa Payoh MRT stations.
Due to ongoing traffic works, walkways towards the bus stops were tight, with commuters walking in a single line.
When TODAY was at the scene at 6.30pm, pedestrians struggled to navigate around the bus stop for taking shuttle buses towards Toa Payoh.
The confusion also had some crossing the overhead bridge between both bus stops multiple times.
A woman who works at nearby Tan Tock Seng Hospital and wanted to be known only as Ms Tan said that she was “trying her luck” when she entered the station at around 7.35pm, and was surprised to see that service had resumed.
“One of my colleagues had gone to the station and was turned away. But getting a taxi during peak hour is expensive so she returned back to rest,” said the 60-year-old.
In an earlier statement around 6.30pm, SMRT said commuters were evacuated for their safety after it detected smoke in the station at around 5.35pm.
No smoke was detected in the tunnel, it added.
“Train services on the North-South Line remain available but are skipping Novena station in both directions.” WITH CNA
One commuter who declined to be named told TODAY she had been trying to figure out which stop to be at for almost half an hour.
“It’s so crowded and confusing. At least the SMRT staff are around to give directions and I realised I was waiting at the wrong bus stop,” she said.
Singapore Institute of Technology students Javis Lim and Lynn Wee, both 24, were also waiting for their bus home for over half an hour.
“I live around the area, but the bus takes longer due to the peak hour traffic and now with the incident at the MRT station,” said Ms Lim who is doing her clinical trial at the nearby Tan Tock Seng Hospital.
“It’s so crowded, but taking a Grab would take too long and be too expensive.”
Mr Adrian Choo, a career strategist and founder of Career Agility Internationa.l posted a video showing smoke at Novena MRT station. He said a message to evacuate had been announced.
At least two SCDF vehicles were seen outside the train station.
Mr Choo told CNA that he had been 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 billowing from the train platform area.
The 51-year-old later left to wait for a Grab ride-hailing 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, and told TODAY he waited about 30 minutes before his driver picked him up.
He added the situation at the train station was calm at around 5.45pm, with about 40 bystanders taking photos and videos.
The SCDF said in a statement that it was alerted by SMRT of the incident at about 5.30pm. It said there were no reported injuries.
Commuters were seen entering and exiting the station at around 7.30pm.
Ms Chathuri Madhusani, 30, a software engineer, told TODAY after she exited the station that she was not aware of the incident. She was on her way home from Tanjong Pagar MRT station.
“I didn’t hear any announcements on the train, I’m surprised to see so staff members here near the gantry,” she said. She was among the first few commuters to alight at the station.