Singapore—A charging Personal Mobility Device (PMD) caused a fire in a 4th floor unit at Block 111 Rivervale Walk on early Tuesday morning (Match 10). The Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF) responded to an alert at 5:30 am.
They rescued the three occupants of the apartment, and another 80 people were evacuated from the Block. Fortunately, no one was injured in the fire.
In a Facebook post, the SCDF said that the three occupants had gotten trapped in the flat, near the window of the unit’s living room. Firefighters then forced their way into the flat via the window to make sure the occupants would be safe.
[Fire @ Block 111 Rivervale Walk]At about 5.30am, SCDF responded to a fire in a 4th floor unit at Block 111 Rivervale…
Some firefighters also entered the living room, which was by then filled with smoke, to put out the fire. Only one water jet was used for this purpose, despite the fact that items in the living room had caught fire.
Paramedics from the SCDF examined the three occupants as well as two more individuals living next door to the unit that had caught fire. While they were offered a trip to the hospital for further evaluation, all five individuals declined.
During the course of the fire, around 80 people from the block were asked to temporarily vacate the building but were allowed to return after the fire was put out.
The SCDF pinpointed the cause of the fire as a charging PMD. “Preliminary investigation into the cause of the fire indicates that it was of electrical origin from a non-UL2272 certified Personal Mobility Device (PMD), which was charging at the time of the fire.”
Furthermore, the SCDF reminded the public to prevent fires by only using PMDs that are UL2272 certified, which can be determined through UL2272 Certification Marks at the time of purchase.
In September 2018, Lam Pin Min, the Senior Minister of State for Transport, announced that motorised PMDs would be mandated to meet safety standards by 2021. By July of 2019, however, the LTA said that because of the series of fires related to charging non-UL2272-certified devices, this deadline may be moved to an earlier date.
Two years ago, there were only 49 such incidents of fires related to PMDs. In 2018, the number shot up to 74.
In July 2019, Singapore saw its first PMD-fire-related death when forty-one-year-old Goh Keng Soon succumbed to his injuries two days after a fire at Bukit Batok.
Over 40 percent of Mr Goh’s body was affected by third-degree burns. He was found unconscious and rescued by firemen from the Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF), and then brought to Singapore General Hospital (SGH).
On July 26, 2019, the SCDF issued a list of Fire Safety Tips for PMDs and PABs, saying, “In the first half of this year (January to June 2019), there were a total of 54 reported fires involving Power Assisted Bicycles (PABs) and Personal Mobility Devices (PMDs).”
This is an increase from the same period in 2018 (January to June), when there were 24 such reported fires.
The number of such fires in residential premises in the first half of 2019 increased to 36, with 31 people injured, from 23 fires in the same period in 2018 where 11 people were injured.
The majority of PAB and PMD-related fires involved lithium-ion batteries and occurred while the batteries were being charged or shortly after they had been fully charged.
Fires can result from faulty electrical circuitry in batteries that causes short-circuiting or overheating, and the risk of this increases with over-charging. -/TISG