Singapore— A charging electrical device caused a fire on July 27, Saturday, at Block 191 Boon Lay Drive, making it the second such incident in two weeks and the ninth in recent months.
This time, it was an electric bike that was suspected to have started the blaze. An investigation from the Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF) which responded shortly after 12 noon is underway.
By the time the SCDF arrived, people had managed to put out the fire by just using buckets of water.
As reported by The Straits Times, the The SCDF said, “There were no reported injuries as a result of the fire. Around 20 people self-evacuated from the block. The cause of the fire is under investigation.”
MP for West Coast GRC Patrick Tay on his Facebook page wrote, “Unfortunately, a PMD left charging at the void deck of Blk 191 caught fire earlier today but thankful for our residents Mr Muhammad Faizal and Mr and Mrs Garnell Glenn Bernard (See : https://m.facebook.com/glenn.garnell?fref=nf) who helped put out the fire and no one hurt or units affected….residents are reminded to never leave their PMDs charging overnight or overcharge their PMD batteries.”
This incident was at least the ninth one in fire related to electric scooters, electric bicycles and other personal mobility devices (PMDs) in the past few months. This led authorities to reconsider whether to move the deadline set for these devices to meet fire safety standards to an earlier date.
In September 2018, it was announced by Lam Pin Min, the Senior Minister of State for Transport, that motorized PMDs are mandated to meet safety standards by 2021.
Last Tuesday, however, the Land Transport Authority said because of the recent series of fires related to charging non-UL2272-certified devices, this deadline may yet 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.
This month, 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).
The fire broke out in the early morning hours on July 18 at Mr Goh’s residence. Goh was a private-hire car driver.
On Friday, 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 involves 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.
Users of PABs or PMDs should be vigilant when charging their devices, as improper charging methods or use of unapproved equipment can endanger lives and damage property.
Notwithstanding the concern with PAB and PMD fires, the overall fire situation in Singapore remains safe and the number of fire incidents remains stable. PAB and PMD fires continue to form a small percentage of the total number of fire incidents, with 2,231 fire incidents in the first half of this year.
In the first half of this year (January to June 2019), there were a total of 54 reported fires involving Power Assisted…
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