Caretaker charged over church fire

Caretaker Yeo Liang Chai, 60, allegedly started a fire in a second-floor room at St Hilda's Church on Sunday morning. Police said the fire, which was contained within the room, involved some books. Yeo could be jailed up to 10 years and fined if conv
Caretaker Yeo Liang Chai, 60, allegedly started a fire in a second-floor room at St Hilda's Church on Sunday morning. Police said the fire, which was contained within the room, involved some books. Yeo could be jailed up to 10 years and fined if convicted.ST PHOTO: WONG KWAI CHOW

A caretaker was hauled to court yesterday after he allegedly started a fire at his workplace, St Hilda's Church, on Easter Sunday.

Yeo Liang Chai, 60, was charged with committing mischief by fire as he had allegedly set ablaze a room in the church in Ceylon Road, off Dunman Road, on April 16.

He is accused of committing the offence between 6.45am and 6.50am that day.

Yeo is now remanded at Central Police Division and may be taken out to assist officers with their investigations.

Dressed in a white polo T-shirt and blue jeans, he was expressionless as he stood in the dock when the charge was read out to him.

He is unrepresented and will be back in court next Tuesday.

In a news release, the police said that the Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF) received a call at around 7am on Sunday, stating that black smoke had been spotted coming out from the roof of the church.

SCDF dispatched two fire engines, two fire bikes, two support vehicles, a Red Rhino and an ambulance to the scene.

Police said the fire involved some books in a room on the second floor and the blaze was confined within.

SCDF officers used a compressed air foam system to extinguish the flames, and no one was injured in the incident.

Easter Sunday is the most important day in the Christian calendar. It is a time of rejoicing as it marks the day they believe Jesus was resurrected.

If convicted of committing mischief by fire, Yeo can be jailed up to 10 years and fined.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on April 19, 2017, with the headline 'Caretaker charged over church fire'. Print Edition | Subscribe