The Singapore Democratic Party (SDP) chief Chee Soon Juan on Sun (3 Nov) visited a unit on 13th floor of Block 210A Bukit Batok Street 21, following a fire on Fri.
Calling the SCDF rescue via aerial ladder a “dangerous mission” that was “executed expertly”, Dr Chee however pointed out that he was informed that the Fire Hose Reel on the floor was not functioning at the time the fire broke out – despite having been certified for inspection last month – due to an absence of water.
“I’ve written to the SCDF to see if this is true,” he assured.
Dr Chee also noted that some of the neighbouring units on the 13th floor of Block 210A Bukit Batok Street 21 had “repeatedly complained to the Town Council about the accumulated material inside and outside the flat which presented a fire hazard”.
“A quick walk around the neighbouring units saw another flat presenting the same problem. This is a serious matter,” he observed.
Dr Chee has previously contested in the Bukit Batok SMC in the 2016 by-election, and is likely to contest in the SMC again in the next General Election, which is one of the five constituencies the SDP intends to contest in the upcoming GE.
Update as of 5 Nov, 12:47 p.m.: Responding to Dr Chee’s feedback, SCDF said on Tue (5 Nov) that its officers “have done a follow up” with the Jurong Town Council, under which the Bukit Batok is managed.
“Town Councils are responsible for the maintenance of their estate’s fire safety measures and ensuring that they are functioning and well-maintained.
“SCDF officers will be inspecting the premises to ensure the Town Council’s compliance with the fire safety requirement. Enforcement action will be taken in the event of non-compliance,” said SCDF.
Aerial ladder deployed for rescue, cause of fire still being investigated: SCDF
SCDF said last Fri that firefighters from Bukit Batok Fire Station and Jurong Fire Station responded to an alert regarding the fire at around 4.31 a.m, and that a Combined Platform Ladder 60m (CPL60) was deployed to conduct aerial rescue.
“A man in his 60’s and another man in his 30’s were found standing on the ledge outside the kitchen’s window. A vast accumulation of items in the kitchen limited the working space for the firefighters. This, coupled with the two men being highly exhausted, prevented the firefighters from pulling them safely into the unit.
“From within the unit, firefighters used ropes to secure the two men. Thereafter, rescuers from SCDF’s elite Disaster Assistance and Rescue Team (DART) rapelled from the unit above and brought the two men into the CPL60’s rescue cage. The men were brought down to the ground floor and were attended to by SCDF paramedics,” said SCDF.
Noting that its firefighters had to carry out “forced entry” to gain access into the burning unit, SCDF said that a woman in her 60’s found in the toilet was also rescued by said firefighters, and that the fire was extinguished using two water jets.
The three individuals were then rushed to the Singapore General Hospital for burn injuries and smoke inhalation.
The Straits Times reported that the man in his 30s, who was believed to be the couple’s son, may have suffered serious burn injuries.
The cause of the fire is under investigation, SCDF added.