Man jailed four months for setting own home on fire

Koh Chong Huat was jailed for four months for causing a fire to break out in his flat at Choa Chu Kang Drive on Aug 1.
Koh Chong Huat was jailed for four months for causing a fire to break out in his flat at Choa Chu Kang Drive on Aug 1. PHOTO: SHIN MIN

SINGAPORE - A man was sentenced to four months' jail on Tuesday (Oct 6) for causing a fire to break out in his own home two months ago.

Koh Chong Huat,44, pleaded guilty to a charge of causing mischief by fire at Block 688A Choa Chu Kang Drive.

The court heard that at about 6.15pm on Aug 1, 2015, Koh, a taxi driver, had a quarrel with his wife in their 12th floor unit.

After his wife left their home, Koh poured thinner onto a mattress in the master bedroom.

He then lighted a lighter and walked near the mattress.

When it caught fire, at about 6.30pm, he tried to put it out with water a few times, but to no avail.

He then told a tenant, who was in the house with her daughter, to leave.

Koh left his home when the whole unit was engulfed with smoke.

The police and Singapore Civil Defence Force were notified of the fire around 7.40pm.

As a result of the fire, about 80 to 100 people living in Koh's block had to be evacuated.

Passing sentence, District Judge Matthew Joseph noted that it was fortunate that no one was injured in the incident.

"It was a dangerous act," he said, noting that the fire caused extensive damage to the unit.

Koh's jail sentence was backdated to Aug 3, when he was first remanded.

He could have been jailed for up to seven years and fined for the offence.