SINGAPORE — At least eight fires in flats involving personal mobility devices, often left charging, were reported over the last three-and-a-half months.
More than half of the incidents occurred this month, including a blaze in Bukit Batok caused by multiple PMDs last Thursday (18 July). A 40-year-old man died in hospital two days after the fire, and he is likely to be the first PMD fire related fatality in Singapore.
According to official figures from the Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF), the number of fires involving such devices and power-assisted bicycles spiked last year at 74 cases, increasing by more than 50 per cent from the year before.
None of the devices involved in the fires last year were known to be certified to their compliant standards, said Minister for Transport Khaw Boon Wan in a written reply to a parliamentary question in March.
Due to the recent spate of PMD fires, SCDF has urged members of the public to use UL2272-certified devices. It has also called on for PMD owners to take certain precautions.
These include avoiding charging PMDs or their batteries near combustible materials and leaving them to charge unattended for an extended period of time or overnight.
Member of Parliament (MP) for Nee Soon GRC Lee Bee Wah said in a Facebook post on Monday that she would bring up the issue in the next Parliament sitting when the Fire Safety Bill is debated.
“We should have more education and deterrent measures to prevent such fires,” she added.
As of 30 June, more than 85,000 e-scooters have been registered with the the Land Transport Authority.
PMD-related fires from April to July
22 July: 4th-floor unit at Block 224, Ang Mo Kio Avenue 1
One adult and three children from the immediate neighbouring unit were rescued, while about 60 people from the affected block were evacuated. The fire originated from a PMD that had been left to charge in the kitchen.
18 July: 26th-floor unit at Block 293D, Bukit Batok Street 21
Three people were conveyed to hospital and about 70 evacuated from the affected block. A 40-year-old man died in hospital two days later. Preliminary investigations indicated the cause of the fire was "accidental in nature due to electrical origin from the PMDs”, said the SCDF, who added that there were three burnt PMDs in the unit.
14 July: 3rd-floor unit at Block 257 Yishun Ring Road
Two people were conveyed to hospital. Preliminary investigations revealed that a PMD was being charged when the fire occurred.
9 July: 5th-floor unit at Block 19 Upper Boon Keng Road
Two people escaped from the flat while around 20 from neighbouring units on the same floor evacuated. The fire originated from the electrical battery of a PMD.
3 July: 4th-floor unit at Block 125 Tampines Street 11
There were no reported injuries. A PMD battery was being charged when the fire occurred.
8 June: 6th-floor unit at Block 301 Ang Mo Kio Avenue 3
There were no reported injuries. The blaze involved a PMD battery, which was charging in a bedroom.
8 June: 13th-floor unit at Block 52 Marine Terrace
The occupant suffered burn injuries and was conveyed to hospital. The fire involved a PMD which was charging in the kitchen.
9 April: 5th-floor unit at Block 159 Woodlands Street 13
Four occupants - a woman, teenager and two children - who were trapped in the kitchen area were rescued, while five others in the neighbouring units were also evacuated. The cause of the fire indicated that it started from a PMD that was left charging in a bedroom.
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