The recent death of a 48-year-old man after a flat in Jurong East caught fire highlights the perils of fires on residential premises caused by hoarding – particularly in a dense and high-rise living environment. A neighbour said that residents of the flat which caught fire had a habit of keeping things such as household appliances and bags in the common corridor. The neighbour was reported as saying that the clutter items along the corridor caught fire and blocked the entrance to his flat, trapping him and his two tenants. Luckily, they were rescued by firefighters. Another fire, which broke out in a flat in the Aljunied area, led to 13 people being evacuated from a Housing Board block. Piles of bags and clothes reached up to the windows in the charred three-room flat.
Fires break out for a variety of reasons. Arson is one. Far more common, however, are accidents caused by unintended but lethal habits such as the unsafe recharging of the batteries of personal mobility devices. There is also no excuse that should be made for cluttering homes with items that are potentially fire hazards.