Young delivery rider who died in PMD lift fire in Woodlands was kind and helpful

The Singapore Civil Defence Force said preliminary investigations showed that the fire in the lift at Block 537 Woodlands Drive 16 was of electrical origin from the personal mobility device. PHOTOS: SCDF/FACEBOOK, NATALIE TAN

SINGAPORE - "Kind" and "gentle" were the words used to describe the 20-year-old man who died after his personal mobility device (PMD) burst into flames while he was in a lift with it.

The victim was Mr Muhammad Irfan Danish Azhar, whose girlfriend posted a picture of his death certificate on Instagram on Saturday (June 5).

Shin Min Daily News reported that Mr Irfan was a food delivery rider.

Former Sembawang GRC MP Amrin Amin said in a Facebook post last Friday that he was saddened by the death of Mr Irfan, whom he referred to as "A".

He said "A" had helped deliver briyani on his PMD to needy residents in Woodlands during Ramadan in 2018 and 2019.

Mr Amrin added: "I remember him as a kind, gentle boy. Only 20, A's bright future crushed. I feel very sorry for his parents, family and friends.

"We remember A for his warmth and kindness and the many lives he has touched."

Mr Amrin also urged owners of PMDs that do not meet the UL2272 safety standard to dispose of their devices with an appropriate recycler.

It is unclear whether Mr Irfan's PMD had a UL2272 certification.

On Instagram, his girlfriend wrote in a mix of Malay and English that "it's difficult to sleep without your 'goodnights'... your 'I'm home', and the videos you'd send me when you're home or when you just wake up".

A Muslim funeral was held for Mr Irfan on Saturday at Masjid Maarof, a mosque in Jurong West, according to a screenshot of a text message posted by his girlfriend. She declined to comment when approached by The Straits Times.

Last Thursday night, Mr Irfan was in a lift at Block 537 Woodlands Drive 16 when his PMD burst into flames.


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Residents living on the second storey said they saw him on fire as he came out of the lift, and they rushed to douse the flames.

Shin Min Daily News reported on Saturday that neighbours had seen Mr Irfan still conscious and breathing heavily before he was rushed to Khoo Teck Puat Hospital.

He died last Friday.

The Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF) said in a Facebook post last Friday that it was alerted to the fire at about 11.25pm last Thursday. Residents had extinguished the lift fire with buckets of water before SCDF officers arrived.

About 90 residents from the affected block were evacuated as a precaution, said the SCDF.

A worker painting a part of the ceiling in the common corridor that was damaged by the fire. ST PHOTO: NATALIE TAN
The walls and ceiling of the lift lobby on the second storey were damaged in Thursday night's fire. ST PHOTO: CHONG JUN LIANG

Preliminary investigations showed that the fire was of electrical origin from the PMD, said the SCDF.

This was not the first case of a PMD fire causing death.

In 2019, a 40-year-old private-hire driver died after his PMD caught fire and engulfed his flat in flames.

He was unconscious when he was pulled out of his apartment on July 18, 2019. He died two days later.

On May 6, the state coroner found his death to be an unfortunate misadventure.

His wife and a neighbour were injured in the fire, which was caused by battery packs overheating as they were being charged.

SCDF reminded the public that PMDs that do not meet the UL2272 safety standard, or are modified, pose a fire risk and threaten public safety. It urged owners of these devices to dispose of them at appropriate recyclers.

Until June 30, 2021, people can dispose of their PMDs at designated collection points at no cost.

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