Charging PMD explodes, causing flat fire in Ang Mo Kio
Neighbours who had to evacuate say PMDs should not be charged indoors
Mr Mohamad Fazir was in the living room, absorbed with his Nintendo Switch, when he was shocked out of his wits by an explosion in the kitchen.
There was an e-scooter being charged in the kitchen at the time and very quickly, Mr Fazir, 30, noticed a fire had started.
"I didn't hear anything, then all of the sudden, there was an explosion. I could feel the heat of the explosion on my face," the car washer told The New Paper yesterday.
His parents were out, along with two other siblings, but his younger brother was asleep in the two-room rental flat on the fourth storey of Block 224, Ang Mo Kio Ave 1, at the time of the explosion and the pair quickly fled the unit.
The Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF) said in a Facebook post yesterday that it had responded to a residential unit fire there at about 3pm.
When the SCDF arrived, the fire was raging and involved the contents of the entire flat. It was extinguished with one water jet.
SCDF officers rescued one woman and her four children from the next-door unit and around 60 people in all were evacuated.
"Preliminary investigations into the cause of the fire indicate it was from a personal mobility device (PMD) placed in the kitchen," SCDF said.
This is the second fire involving PMDs in less than a week.
While investigations are ongoing, it is suspected that a flat in Bukit Batok caught fire last Thursday also because of a PMD being charged.
A 41-year-old man who was unconscious in the unit was rescued by SCDF firefighters but died two days later after suffering third-degree burns on 40 per cent of his body.
Some residents who were evacuated yesterday told TNP that PMDs should not be charged in flats.
The woman who was rescued with her four children from the unit next to the flat that caught fire, a housewife who wanted to be known only as Mrs Muhammad, felt it was not right.
The 24-year-old, whose husband was at work at the time, said: "It's not safe. It's so dangerous. PMD users should think about others.
"While I was trapped in my flat, I was worried my gas stove would explode because of the fire."
Mr Salim Embik, a driver in construction, agreed.
The 63-year-old, also a fourth-storey neighbour, said: "I don't feel safe. It's too dangerous to charge indoors. It'd be better to charge PMDs outdoors instead."
Fires caused by PMDs being charged in residential units are becoming more frequent as the devices become more popular.
Last year, there were 74 such fires, a 51 per cent increase from the 49 incidents in 2017.
The latest incident has resulted in Mr Fazir and his family being relocated to another flat.
In a Facebook post yesterday, Ang Mo Kio Member of Parliment Koh Poh Koon said: "Although no one was hurt, some families are affected as their homes were damaged. Temporary HDB units have been arranged for and are ready to accommodate them overnight.
"They are receiving support from agencies, community partners... and we hope to be able to help them through this difficult period."