Forum: Clear corridor clutter to reduce fire risk

Reading about the recent fire incidents at Housing Board flats, I found it alarming to see how easily fires can spread to adjoining HDB units on the same level as well as levels above and below the location of the fire (About 40 residents evacuated from Tampines block after second reported fire at an HDB flat in a week, July 3; and 10 people taken to hospital, 100 evacuated after fire erupts in Yishun block of flats, June 29).

I hope that the HDB and town councils will consider strictly enforcing the rules that restrict residents from placing items indiscriminately outside their flats and along common corridors. Items like laundry racks, personal mobility devices, bicycles, discarded supermarket trolleys, furniture and boxes should not be allowed in corridors.

In the event of a fire, the items can easily act as fuel, speeding up the spread of flames further along the corridor to other units and floors. Moreover, these items can impede rescue, evacuation and medical efforts.

Furthermore, not only are these items unsightly, but they can also accumulate rainwater and dust, and promote the growth of mould. They can harbour and facilitate the breeding of pests like mosquitoes, adding to the dengue menace.

Personal items in common corridors can be a bone of contention between households which stake a large public area as their "rightful entitlement" and obstruct the passageway and their neighbours who want to keep the corridors clean and clear.

Other than a small shoe cabinet and plants contained within a specified area near the main door, residents should not be allowed to put more items in common areas, and should not claim these spaces as their personal yard or dump.

Kim Say