Power station fire affects shops at Gadong commercial area

BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN

SHOPS in the Gadong commercial area had to close their businesses for about an hour after an electric blaze at a power plant caused electricity disruptions and trapped motorists at the basement parking lot of a shopping mall.

Norshikin Hj Kadir, senior team leader of Public Section at The Mall, Gadong, said the power outage resulted in some shops having to close, but shoppers were not bothered with the disruption.

“The whole mall was affected and some shops closed while there was no power. All the floors except the lower and upper basement had light coming in. People who were at the lower and upper basement at the time walked up through the travelator,” she told The Brunei Times.

Norshikin said people were also stuck in the basement parking area because motorists were rushing to get out.

“The jam wasn’t because of the blackout, but people were rushing to get out. It was so dark so it was difficult for people to see clearly.

“There are two entrances and exits. So another reason for the jam was that people thought they could only use the main exit when in fact the other exit was also open. We also blocked cars from entering to make it easier for people to get out,” she added.

Norshikin said members of the public were not informed of the incident due to the power outage.

“We couldn’t tell people what was going on. Even electricity in the security’s office was out.”

“After the electricity came back on, everything went back to normal. Nobody panicked but we weren’t sure whether anyone was stuck in the elevator,” she continued.

Meanwhile, Police Constable Abdul Malik Hj Zaini from the Traffic Control and Investigation Department (JSKLL) at the Gadong Control Room Office Unit said six motorcycle police patrols were sent to two locations in Mukim Gadong to reduce traffic congestion.

He said two traffic lights in Batu Bersurat and in Gadong stopped operating due to the power outage from the fire.

Abdul Malik said three patrols were sent to the traffic lights near NBT Brunei and another three patrols were in charge of the traffic lights near the Ideal Restaurant in Menglait, Gadong. “Traffic congestion around the affected areas are under control at around 6pm,” he said in a phone interview.

A resident of Pengkalan Gadong, Adi Adanan, described the traffic as chaotic when the traffic lights were not working and before police arrived to control the situation. He added that he saw a thick plume of smoke from the Gadong Power Station 2 around 4pm.

“It made me curious and concerned since it was in my neighbourhood but I trust that the authorities will handle it well.”

Hafiz Hamir, a Kg Rimba resident, said the power outage “felt like a regular blackout”. “We didn’t panic or anything like that. The only worrying thing on our part was that we didn’t know how long it would last,” he said.

The Department of Electrical Services said power was restored at about 5pm in Gadong, and 5.15pm in other areas.

The Brunei Times