PMD charging in Sembawang flat believed to have caused fire

A preliminary probe into the cause of the fire indicated that it was of an electrical origin from a PMD that was charging.
A preliminary probe into the cause of the fire indicated that it was of an electrical origin from a PMD that was charging.PHOTO: SHIN MIN DAILY NEWS

A fire which broke out at a Sembawang flat yesterday is believed to have been caused by a personal mobility device (PMD) that was being charged.

The Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF) said in a Facebook post that it responded to a fire at a 12th-floor unit in Block 364B Sembawang Crescent at about 5.10am.

The SCDF extinguished the blaze in the living room with a hose reel and two compressed air foam backpacks. No injuries were reported.

A preliminary investigation into the cause of the fire indicated that it was of an electrical origin from a PMD that was charging.

Chinese language evening paper Shin Min Daily News reported that a family of four lives in the flat. The flat's owner told the paper that his friend had lent them the PMD so that they could try riding it. When he realised that a fire had broken out, he quickly woke his wife and carried his children out of the flat.

Mr Albert Tan, 68, who lives in a unit a few doors away, said that at around 5am yesterday, he heard the sound of banging, as if something heavy was being moved, then smelt smoke.

Mr Tan, who works as a company driver, told his wife to wake their 12-year-old son and grab the family's pet dog. He said that while heading downstairs from the 12th floor, he called the police, who said they were on their way.

Mr Tan had first seen an e-scooter outside the flat in the fire incident several months earlier. "When I saw that e-scooter, I started to worry that this kind of thing would happen because there had been many cases of fires involving e-scooters," he said.

EARLY WORRIES

When I saw that e-scooter, I started to worry that this kind of thing would happen because there had been many cases of fires involving e-scooters.

MR ALBERT TAN, who lives a few units away from the flat in the fire incident, on first seeing an e-scooter outside it several months earlier.

The SCDF reminds the public to prevent PMD fires by using UL2272-certified devices. The UL2272 standard is a set of safety requirements covering the electrical drive train system of PMDs, including the battery system.

Last year, there were 52 PMD-related fires reported; in the first half of this year, there have been 49 incidents.

For information on the certification and an indicative list of certified devices, visit the Land Transport Authority's website at bit.ly/ul2272sg

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 27, 2019, with the headline 'PMD charging in Sembawang flat believed to have caused fire'. Print Edition | Subscribe