Fire in Bukit Merah flat linked to electric bike that was charging

The unit and a section of the corridor were affected by heat and smoke damage. ST PHOTO : BRYAN CHEONG
Preliminary investigations showed that the fire originated from the battery pack of a power-assisted bicycle which was charging in the living room. PHOTO: SINGAPORE CIVIL DEFENCE FORCE/FACEBOOK

SINGAPORE - A fire broke out at a flat in Bukit Merah on Friday morning (April 8) that gutted the entire flat and damaged part of the corridor. 

The Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF), which responded to the fire at about 8.15am, said preliminary investigation indicated that the fire originated from the battery pack of an electric bicycle that was charging in the living room. 

SCDF said in a Facebook post on Friday that firefighters arrived to find a raging fire and thick black smoke billowing from the 10th-floor flat at 38 Beo Crescent.

They extinguished the blaze with a water jet.

No one was injured in the fire.

About 30 people from neighbouring units got out of their homes prior to SCDF’s arrival. 

Among them was Madam Isabella Teng, 42, who was showering before work when she heard her two dogs barking furiously. 

The corporate manager said her son, 22, told her that their next-door neighbour’s flat was on fire. She quickly got dressed and left her home with her son and pets to gather downstairs with her neighbours.

Madam Teng said: “There was a lot of smoke. Thankfully, nobody was injured and everyone was evacuated in time. It was very nice when I saw the neighbours accounting for each other to ensure nobody was left behind.

“Cases like this have happened before, and I think this could have been prevented. Hopefully, this will serve as a lesson for everyone around the area,” she added.

When The Straits Times visited the scene at 4pm, five workers were repairing the wiring for the units on the 10th floor to ensure they were safe to use.

The affected unit was covered in soot and dust, and littered with glass shards and damaged belongings. 

The flat owner was not there, but neighbours said she lives with her toddler son and her mother.

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Another resident in the flat next to the unit, who declined to be named, said that the walls of his living room had cracked due to the fire.

He said: “The process of claiming insurance is a hassle and we were instructed to approach different agencies to claim different insurance.

“We are also worried about another fire which might occur if the inner wiring is not checked and fixed properly. We hope that there can be an advisory in the future to advise Singaporeans on what they should do after evacuating from a fire,” he added.

The blaze was extinguished with a water jet. ST PHOTO : BRYAN CHEONG

Madam Teng said she was fortunate that her home was not badly damaged, although the tiles of her son’s bedroom floor had popped and the walls were slightly burnt.

“I was prepared for the worst, and I thought my home would be ground zero. Thankfully, it was not badly affected,” she added.

SCDF reminds the public to take steps to prevent fires linked to electric bikes and personal mobility devices, such as not leaving their charging unattended for an extended period of time or overnight.

The charging should not be done near combustible materials or along an escape path.

It added that only original batteries should be bought and used.

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