Bukit Batok MP sorry fire hoses locked up and dry when firefighters arrived at blaze

Bukit Batok’s constituency representative apologized today for the hoses at a public housing block being unusable and inaccessible when a fire broke out two weeks ago. 

Murali Pillai said two town council officers would be disciplined for locking the hoses with padlocks while the fact that they didn’t have any water anyway was the fault of a vendor.

“As to the padlocking issue, the Town Council identified 2 officers as being responsible for directing the padlocking of the fire hose compartments by using small padlocks that can be dislodged using force,” he said. 

Forty firefighters and 20 police officers responded to the Nov. 1 blaze, which broke out in a 13th-story unit of Block 210A Bukit Batok Street 21. Three people were rescued from the unit: two men who had to be brought down from a kitchen ledge by ladder and a woman in her 60s who was rescued from the toilet. 

Firefighters arrived to find no water in the fire hoses and padlocks on the compartments storing them. That meant they had to run hoses from their trucks rather than use those in the block.

The authorities are still investigating the cause of the blaze. 

The Jurong-Clementi Town Council was issued two notices by the Singapore Civil Defence Force over the lapses as it is the duty of such councils to ensure all hose reels in their Housing and Development Board blocks are maintained and ready for use. 

Writing online today, Murali, 52, said the water supply issue was traced to JKeart Pte Ltd., who is responsible for maintaining the hose reels, while the compartments were locked by two Town Council officers who wanted to prevent their misuse.

The SCDF is investigating Jkeart, who had earlier insisted to the Town Council that the hose reels did have water pressure, even showing a video to prove it, according to Murali.

They provided to Town Council a video of the hose reel in question in working condition on the same day of the fire incident,” Murali wrote.

He said the two Town Council officers who ordered the hose reels locked would face unspecified disciplinary measures.

“This was a mistake on their part. They have admitted to their mistakes. The Town Council management will pursue disciplinary action against them.”

Murali then concluded his statement with an apology.

“These incidents should not have happened and, for that, I must apologize. I will work with my elected and appointed Town Councillors to review this case and ensure that the fire safety system is strengthened to ensure its reliability,” he said.


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This article, Bukit Batok MP sorry fire hoses locked up and dry when firefighters arrived at blaze, originally appeared on Coconuts, Asia's leading alternative media company. Want more Coconuts? Sign up for our newsletters!