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Fire triggers evacuation at Singapore's Changi airport

SINGAPORE (3rd UPDATE) – Hundreds of passengers were evacuated from Singapore's Changi Airport after a small fire erupted in a terminal that was later extinguished, authorities and witnesses said, delaying flights at the global hub.

Smoke swept through the airport's Terminal 2 building after a fire broke out in the departure hall, spurring authorities to seal off the area.

Three people were sent to hospital for smoke inhalation, the Singapore Civil Defense Force (SCDF) said on its Facebook page.

"A small fire occurred at the departure hall of Changi Airport Terminal 2. The fire has been extinguished by SCDF," the Singapore Police said in a statement.

Police said the fire alarm was activated at around 5:40pm as smoke poured from air vents, sparking an evacuation order and closure of the terminal.

Passengers on flights departing from the terminal on Tuesday evening "should expect significant delays," airport management said.

Philippine carrier Cebu Pacific announced that flight 5J 806 bound for Manila on Tuesday night is cancelled. Passengers will be accommodated on flight 5J 806D, which will leave at 10am of Wednesday, May 17.

It also said 2 of its flights 5J 547 (Cebu to Singapore) and 5J 803 (Manila to Singapore) will be delayed. 

Singapore Airlines, for its part, said it was "working closely with the airport authority and various agencies to ensure flights can be resumed in the shortest time possible."

An AFP reporter at the airport said the scene was generally calm as the departure and arrival halls were evacuated. Airport staff were also seen leaving but there was no panic.

M. Ramarao, 36, an Indian software engineer working in Singapore, was set to take a flight back home with his 18-month-old daughter when they were evacuated.

"I am very worried now because we have a doctor's appointment tomorrow morning for my daughter who fractured her arm, so it's quite urgent," he told AFP.

"If it's for one or two hours it's okay, but they shouldn't cancel the flight," he added.

A Russian tourist who identified himself only as Alexander expressed hope his flight to Moscow would not be cancelled.

"They told us that there was smoke at a part of the airport," he told AFP.

More than 58. million international passengers passed through Changi Airport last year. The airport serves more than 100 airlines flying to some 380 cities worldwide. – Rappler.com