On Monday (22 July), Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF) took to its Facebook to reveal a fire-related incident that occurred at the fourth-storey of Block 224 Ang Mo Kio Ave 1 HDB flat.
It appears that SCDF received a call at around 3.05pm to attend to a fire breakout at a HDB flat. Upon SCDF’s arrival, it was said that the “fire was raging and involved the contents of the entire unit”. Apart from completely destroying the affected flat, the fire also damaged two neighbouring units.
Thankfully, SCDF managed to put out the fire with one water jet and evacuated about 60 people from the block with the help of the police. An adult and three children were also rescued from the immediate neighbouring units.
According to an article by the Straits Times, it seems that the two brothers, Mohamad Fazir and Mohamad Fazrim, who were in the rented flat where the fire first started fled the premise upon hearing a loud explosion.
It was reported that Mr Fazir woke his brother, who was taking a nap in the living room, before running out of the flat though the front door.
“I saw the fire in front of my face and it spread so quickly,” Mr Fazir told Yio Chu Kang’s Citizens’ Consultative Committee chairman (CCC) Tung Yui Fai when he visited the victims at 7pm.
In SCDF’s post, it mentioned that the “preliminary investigations into the cause of the fire indicate it was from a Personal Mobility Device (PMD) placed in the kitchen”.
ST’s article also mentioned that an e-scooter owned by the fiancé of the woman living in the rental unit was left to charge in the kitchen before the couple left for work.
As such, SCDF has advised all citizens to follow fire safety tips in order to prevent PMD-sparked fires.
It stated that “LTA encourages all PMD owners to use UL2272 certified devices. When purchasing a PMD, look out for the UL2272 Certification Marks”.
For those who are unaware, UL2272 certification means a PMD has gone through a series of comprehensive and stringent tests to make sure it can handle various stresses. Some examples of the tests include over-charging of batteries, repeated exposure to water, and exposure to varying temperatures.
Therefore, the Land Transport Authority (LTA) adopted the standard in September 2018 to boost public safety and reduce fire accidents.
Initially, the LTA said in its website that in order “to improve public safety and minimise fire incidents, all motorised Personal Mobility Devices (PMDs) used on public paths must be certified to the UL2272 standard from 1 January 2021. Retailers will be prohibited from selling non-UL2272 certified devices from 1 July 2019”.
It added, “While existing owners of non-UL2272 certified motorised PMDs can continue using them on public paths until end December 2020, we strongly encourage owners of motorised PMDs to switch to UL2272 certified devices to minimise the risk of fires for their own safety as well as those around them.”
However, after the recent fire incidents, LTA announced that it’s considering to bring forward the end-2020 deadline to ban all PMDs that fail to secure a safety certification from public paths.
Could UL2272-certified device cause the fire?
However, upon inspection of the burnt picture of the e-scooter that was released by SCDF, a source told us that it looked like a UL2272 certified Fiido electric scooter, which is in fact approved by the LTA.
If one looks closely at the logo, it seems that the device is indeed an approved model by the authority.
TOC has reached out to SCDF to confirm this. However, they did not provide us with an answer to this, instead informed us that they are still investigating the cause of the fire.
Although SCDF did not confirm that the real cause of the fire, mainstream media like The Straits Times and Mothership have implied that the PMD in the flat was the reason for the fire.
TOC has also reached out to LTA for their comment and has yet to receive a reply.