The Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF) on Tuesday launched an investigation into the circumstances surrounding the death of a woman outside the washrooms on the ground floor of the Textile Centre.
The body of the woman, perceived to be in her 50s but identity not yet known, was found at about 11.30 am by a female cleaner. The cleaner had noticed the motionless body lying on the floor just outside the toilet and immediately tried to help before informing the management of the building.
The building’s management told the police at 12.10 pm which dispatched an ambulance with paramedics to the scene.
Unfortunately, the medics could not rescue the woman as they declared her dead at the scene. According to the official police report, the death is labelled unnatural. The body had no visible injuries, though.
Parts of the building cordoned off
The area where the body laid was cordoned off with members of the public sent away, and only shop owners allowed in.
“Entrance Closed,” read one of the signs, and another said; “Cleaning in Progress.”
Other than the signs, the Textile Centre’s management staffs, security officers, and at least three police officers kept directing shoppers to use the toilets on the subsequent floor, to prevent them from seeing the body.
The body was taken at around 3 pm by funeral directors shortly after they had arrived at the scene.
Ms. Dorothy Hoe, the owner of the holistic therapy centre, situated just two units away from the ground floor’s washrooms, said she didn’t see the woman collapse but admitted that many aged people walk around the area.
Ms. Hoe, who appears to be in her 50s, adds that the woman had a bag of medication, and argued that maybe the woman had just sought medical attention before the incident. However, she could not point at the woman’s possible cause of death.
Sa’airah Abdul Rashid usually walks through the building after picking her daughter from school. However, on Tuesday the 34-year-old homemaker knew something was wrong after the commercial building’s management blocked her from going her usual way, which passes by the toilet. Out of curiosity, she looked around and saw a covered body, which according to her was very scary.
Over the years, Textile Centre has witnessed disturbances that have sparked controversies and attracted the attention of the public with equal measure.
A May 1997 incident saw a firefighter’s lift with nine passengers plunge 19 floors injuring seven. But thanks to the safety precautions, there was no causality reported.
Another melee came in 2002, with the managing director of fishballs making business set fire on office units of his firm’s court-appointed liquidator. He also started another fire using cardboards in the building. He was afterwards arrested and charged in the Singapore court.
In November 2005, a hawker lost his life after a brawl erupted in a nightclub in the same building. The man sustained fatal injuries from kicks and trampling.
However, the case preceding the death of this woman was rather funny. Traffic along Jalan Sultan was brought to a standstill when a naked man jogged in the opposite direction of traffic, causing a disruption. And guess where he eventually ended his stunt? Textile Centre. He laid there motionlessly facing upwards.