Singapore—The Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF) responded to a fire late in the afternoon of Monday, November 4, outside an 11th-floor unit at Blk 927 Hougang St 91.
The good news is that SCDF personnel were able to extinguish the fire using buckets of water and that no one was grievously injured in the mishap.
The not-so-good news is that this fire, like many others this year, is related to a Personal Mobility Device (PMD).
The SCDF posted an update about the fire, along with photos of the aftermath of the blaze. It said that two occupants of the unit were found by the SCDF to be in a state of shock. However, after their condition was evaluated by an SCDF paramedic, the two individuals declined to be brought to a hospital for further treatment.
[Fire @ Blk 927 Hougang St 91]At about 5pm, SCDF responded to a fire outside a 11th floor unit at Blk 927 Hougang St…
The update also pointed to the cause of the fire. “Preliminary investigation indicates that the fire was of electrical origin from the non-UL2272 PMD which was charging at the time of the fire.”
The post continues, “LTA (Singapore’s Land Transit Authority) encourages all PMD owners to use UL2272 certified devices. When purchasing a PMD, look out for the UL2272 Certification Marks.
For more information on UL2272 certification and certified devices available in Singapore please refer to LTA’s website go.gov.sg/ul2272sg.
All owners of non-UL2272 certified PMDs are strongly encouraged to dispose of their devices at designated disposal points as soon as possible. For more info, refer to go.gov.sg/pmddisposal.”
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.
In July of this year, however, the LTA said that 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.
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).
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 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./ TISG
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