Less than two weeks after rodents were spotted at People’s Park Food Centre, at least two more were found at Telok Blangah Crescent Market and Food Centre on Feb. 19, reported Shin Min Daily News (Shin Min).
However, this time, the rats were found dead, having apparently been electrocuted.
According to a video seen by Shin Min which apparently captured the aftermath of the incident, workers were filmed clearing the rat carcasses above a hawker stall.
Sparks could be seen when the staff members were picking up the mice with tongs.
According to Shin Min, the alleged rat electrocution happened around 10:25 am on Feb. 19.
A witness, surnamed Su (Hanyu pinyin), said she was eating at the table next to the affected stall when the incident broke out. She was subsequently asked to leave the area.
She also saw multiple police officers and firefighters at the hawker centre afterwards.
“The rats were on the beam and I believe they were close to the electrical wires. At the time [when the incident happened], the smell of burned wires was very strong. The female hawker quickly closed her stall while her son shared with the firefighters what happened,” Su recounted.
A hawker who spoke to Shin Min on condition of anonymity added that the incident happened during the peak breakfast hours when many people were queueing for food.
Someone alerted the authorities after noticing the strong burning smell and white smoke coming from above the stall.
Later on, the authorities turned off the electricity supply so that cleaning and repair work could be carried out, the hawker explained.
Another hawker also told Shin Min that the electricity was restored at around 1pm, but said their business wasn’t affected significantly.
In response to Shin Min‘s queries, the Singapore Civil Defence Force confirmed they were notified of the incident, but the situation didn’t require their assistance.
Rat infestations not new: Hawker
According to another hawker, who also spoke to Shin Min on condition of anonymity, rat infestations at the food centre are not unheard of.
She explained that the rats gathered mostly around trash bins, but had started to appear at stalls in recent months.
Around six months ago, office workers nearby were disgusted to find rodents crawling on the floor when dining at the hawker centre, Shin Min reported the hawker as saying.
“The situation improved after someone reported it, and many mouse holes might have been blocked [as a result]. However, recently, a few new holes might have appeared (which later led to the incident)”, she deduced.
While the problem of rat infestations is difficult to eradicate, the hawker said she and her counterparts would ensure the tidiness and hygiene of their respective stalls.
10 years since the last renovation
According to a few hawkers interviewed by Shin Min, the last time the hawker centre was renovated was over 10 years ago.
They could thus understand why the venue was afflicted by rat and bird infestations.
Nevertheless, the hawkers hope the authorities could pay more attention to the infestations as customers may be scared away if the problems persist, reported Shin Min.
They also urged all hawkers to work together and pack their waste properly before throwing it away.
Top images via Google Maps and Shin Min Daily News