Showers of ire as lifts leak after downpour

Water dripping from the ceiling and pooling on the floor of a lift at Block 214, Lorong 8 Toa Payoh, on Christmas Eve. Jalan Besar Town Council, which maintains the estate, said the lift was shut down that night and the problem fixed the next day.
Water dripping from the ceiling and pooling on the floor of a lift at Block 214, Lorong 8 Toa Payoh, on Christmas Eve. Jalan Besar Town Council, which maintains the estate, said the lift was shut down that night and the problem fixed the next day.PHOTO: FACEBOOK

Heavy rain on Christmas Eve caused leaks at HDB blocks in Toa Payoh and Tampines

Some residents resorted to using umbrellas in their lifts as a heavy downpour on Christmas Eve caused massive leaks at an HDB block in Toa Payoh and another in Tampines.

One of the five lifts at Block 213, Lorong 8 Toa Payoh, resembled a fountain in a Facebook video, with water cascading from its ceiling.

The video got about 26,000 views and had been shared more than 600 times as of yesterday.

Mr Sitoh Yih Pin, who is MP for the area, said that based on preliminary investigations, ponding at the 17th-floor lift lobby may have led to water leaking into the Lift B shaft.

Jalan Besar Town Council (JBTC), which maintains the estate, said the affected lift was shut down on the same night for "safety reasons". The problem was rectified the next morning and the lift resumed normal operations at noon, it added.

But several residents of the block said leaking at Lift B has been a longstanding issue since it was installed during the Lift Upgrading Programme two years ago.

 

"This always happens when it rains heavily. We have complained before but water still gets into the lift," said retiree Low Eng Kim, 66, who lives on the ninth floor of the 18-storey block.

Said retiree Lee Chew Huat, 85, who lives on the 12th floor: "Sometimes we even have to use an umbrella inside."

Administrative supervisor Iris Goh, 66, said: "I don't dare to take this lift when it rains. I'm scared I might get electrocuted or trapped."

Residents added that Lift B would often stop working when it rains heavily. The same lift was out of order when The Straits Times visited the block yesterday afternoon.

But Mr Sitoh said this was due to a separate lift door sensor malfunction, which led to the lift being shut down as a precaution.

He added that JBTC and the lift upgrading consultants are probing the cause of the leak and will take steps to prevent a recurrence.

Separately, a lift at Block 314, Tampines Street 33, also experienced the same wet fate during the Dec 24 downpour. Residents told Shin Min Daily News that such "raining" in the lift also happened a few years ago.

MP for Tampines GRC Desmond Choo said the chief cause was wear and tear in the waterproofing of the lift motor room above the lift shaft, so water leaked into the room.

Heavy rain entering the lift shaft through a malfunctioning door on the sixth floor could have been a contributing factor, he said. He added: "Our team is checking every single block in Tampines GRC to ensure this does not happen again."

•Additional reporting by Lee Min Kok

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on December 28, 2016, with the headline 'Showers of ire as lifts leak after downpour'. Print Edition | Subscribe