Five people taken to hospital after fire in HDB block in Yishun Ring Road

SCDF was alerted to the blaze in Block 451 Yishun Ring Road at about 9.50am on Saturday. PHOTO: SINGAPORE CIVIL DEFENCE FORCE/FACEBOOK

SINGAPORE - Five people were taken to Singapore General Hospital after a fire broke out in a fifth-floor unit in a Housing Board (HDB) flat in Yishun on Saturday.

The five were rescued from the bedrooms and were assessed by paramedics for smoke inhalation, with two people also sustaining minor burn injuries, the Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF) said in a Facebook post.

Hamsters in multiple pet cages in the unit were also rescued.

SCDF said it was alerted to the blaze in Block 451 Yishun Ring Road at about 9.50am.

The fire, which involved contents of the living room and a part of the kitchen, was extinguished with a water jet.

About 100 residents from the third to seventh floors were evacuated by the police as a precautionary measure.

SCDF added that preliminary investigation indicates that the fire likely originated from the battery pack of a power-assisted bicycle in the living room.

It said one should not charge these batteries for an extended period of time or overnight, or buy and use non-original types.

Nee Soon GRC MP Derrick Goh told The Straits Times that both the HDB and Nee Soon Town Council are in touch with the affected household members. 

“Nobody has suffered serious injuries. Two members of the family of five escaped with some minor burns on their feet. We have been in touch with the family and HDB to arrange a temporary unit for them while a clean-up is done and investigation is carried out,” he said. 

Mr Goh, who visited the flat on Saturday, also checked on the families whose homes are beside and above the affected unit. The fan blade and ceiling light in the flat on the sixth floor melted owing to the heat from below, he added. 

 “We are reading and seeing one too many fires in flats. We must all be more careful,”  he said.

According to SCDF’s annual report released in February, there were 1,010 fires in residential properties in 2021, with 55 involving active mobility devices which include power-assisted bicycles.

The report noted that this was an overall 19.1 per cent fall in the category – from 68 in 2020. 

In August, in a written reply to a parliamentary question, Law and Home Affairs Minister K. Shanmugam said that from January to June 2022, there were five personal mobility device-related fires in HDB blocks, down from 11 during the same period in 2021. 

He added that similar to 2021, all these fires involved personal mobility devices (PMDs) that were non-compliant, or could not be determined to be compliant, with the UL2272 safety standards.

“When a PMD-related fire occurs, the inter-agency Active Mobility Fire Safety Taskforce co-chaired by the SCDF and Land Transport Authority will jointly investigate the incident,” he said.

He added that users will be taken to task if they are found to have used non-compliant PMDs. Offenders can be fined up to $10,000, or jailed for up to six months, or both.

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