Singapore—The Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF) said that a Personal Mobility Device (PMD) caught fire while it was being charged in the common corridor at a HDB flat in Clementi shortly before 1:00 in the afternoon on Thursday, December 5.
SCDF said on its Facebook page that the fire occurred outside a 14th floor unit at Blk 715 Clementi West St 2. Fortunately, it was extinguished using one water jet, and no injuries from the fire were reported.
However, three people living in the unit had to be evacuated.
SCDF added that according to its preliminary investigations, the fire started due to electrical issues because of the PMD that had been charging along the common corridor before the fire started.
It further reminded everyone concerning safety tips from the Land Transportation Authority (LTA) in the prevention of fires started by PMDs and PABs, including encouraging all PMD owners to use UL2272 certified devices. Anyone who wishes to buy a PMD should look for the UL2272 Certification Mark, SCDF added.
More information concerning UL2272 certification and an indicative list of UL2272 certified devices available in Singapore can be found at go.gov.sg/ul2272sg.
The SCDF also encourages PMD owners whose devices are not UL2272 certified to dispose of these devices as soon as possible at the designated disposal points found on this site, to prevent incidents such as the December 5 fire from recurring.
PMD-related fires have become a growing concern for Singaporeans, due to the rising number of these incidents this year.
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 this year, 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, 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, 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 last year (January to June 2018), 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