About 80 people evacuated from Rivervale Walk block after PMD caught fire

A burnt PMD seen at a fourth-floor unit at Block 111 Rivervale Walk on 10 March, 2020. (PHOTO: SCDF)

SINGAPORE — Around 80 people were evacuated from a Rivervale Walk Housing Board block and three occupants rescued after a non-UL2272 certified personal mobility device (PMD) caught fire in the wee hours of Tuesday (10 March).

Residents from Block 111 Rivervale Walk were evacuated by the police after the fire broke out in a fourth-floor unit, said the Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF) in a Facebook post.

The SCDF responded to the fire at about 5.30am. Three people were trapped in the unit near the living room window and firefighters had to force their way into the unit through the window to rescue them, added the SCDF.

Firefighters wearing breathing apparatus sets also conducted forced entry into the smoke-logged unit through the door to extinguish the fire.

The fire, which involved the contents of the living room, was extinguished with one water jet.

Paramedics assessed the three rescued occupants and two people from a neighbouring unit. All five refused to be taken to the hospital.

The 80 evacuated residents were subsequently allowed to return to their homes.

A preliminary investigation into the cause of the fire indicates that it was of electrical origin from a non-UL2272 certified PMD, which was charging at the time of the fire.

“All owners of non-UL2272 certified PMDs are strongly encouraged to dispose of their devices at designated disposal points as soon as possible,” said the SCDF.

The deadline for PMD owners to meet fire safety standards will be brought forward by six months to 1 July in light of a spate of PMD-related fires.

Those who have registered their e-scooters and declared them UL2272-certified will also have their devices scheduled to go through a mandatory inspection from April. All new e-scooters will need to pass inspections for UL2272 certification as well as width, weight and device speed before they can be registered.

According to annual statistics released by the SCDF in February, there were 102 fires involving PMDs and 13 involving power-assisted bicycles in 2019.

The number of injured cases arising from such fires rose to 46 – including one fatality – last year from 26 in 2018.

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