PMD catches fire while charging in Bukit Batok flat, 2 including baby in hospital

The fire happened at 10.40am in a Housing Board flat on the 5th floor of Block 416 Bukit Batok West Avenue 4. PHOTO: SINGAPORE CIVIL DEFENCE FORCE/FACEBOOK

SINGAPORE - A male resident and a female infant were taken to hospital after a fire, suspected to have been caused by a personal mobility device (PMD), broke out in his Bukit Batok flat on Tuesday morning (Oct 8).

The Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF) said in a Facebook post on Tuesday that its officers used a water jet to extinguish the fire which involved the contents of a bedroom.

The fire happened at 10.40am in a Housing Board flat on the 5th floor of Block 416 Bukit Batok West Avenue 4. The male resident, an occupant of the flat, and the baby, who lives on the sixth floor, were taken to Singapore General Hospital and KK Women's and Children's Hospital for smoke inhalation.

According to Chinese evening newspaper Shin Min Daily News, a 24-year-old man who lives in the block said his nephew was the male occupant in the unit.

The nephew was the only person at home then. His mother was at a polyclinic and his brother was in school. After he was done showering, he saw smoke in the flat. The nephew then rushed out of the flat to look for his uncle for help.

When the two returned to the flat, the nephew said that a PMD was likely being charged in the unit.

It is unclear if the PMD involved was UL2272-certified. The UL2272 standard is a set of safety requirements covering the electrical drive train system of PMDs, including the battery system.

E-scooter owners are required by law to have their devices UL2272-certified by July 1 next year.

The SCDF said preliminary investigations showed that the source of the Bukit Batok fire was electrical in origin and was due to a PMD that was charging at the time of the fire.

It encourages all owners of non-UL2272-certified PMDs to dispose of their devices at designated points as soon as possible.

Remote video URL

The Land Transport Authority (LTA) is facilitating this process at 181 spots across the island at no cost to e-scooter owners. This will last six months from Sept 23, 2019, to March 31, 2020, with those who do so before Nov 30 eligible for a $100 incentive.

In the first half of this year, there were 49 fires related to PMDs, an average of about two a week.

In the worst of these cases, a 40-year-old man died in hospital after being rescued from his burning flat in Bukit Batok. The blaze was linked to three e-scooters found burnt in the unit.

E-scooter owners can refer to LTA's website for more information on the UL2272 standard and the free disposal scheme.

Join ST's Telegram channel and get the latest breaking news delivered to you.