Man, 41, may be first PMD-fire fatality here
Neighbours worried about e-scooters being charged in flats after Bukit Batok resident dies in hospital from burn injuries
A Bukit Batok resident is possibly the first fatal victim here of a fire caused by a Personal Mobility Device (PMD) being charged.
Mr Goh Keng Soon, 41, was unconscious when he was rescued by Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF) firefighters from his burning flat in Bukit Batok in the early hours of last Thursday.
Mr Goh, who had third-degree burns on 40 per cent of his body, died at the Singapore General Hospital (SGH) on Saturday afternoon.
He was a private-hire car driver, Shin Min Daily News reported yesterday.
After the fire, Bukit Batok Member of Parliament Murali Pillai posted on Facebook that "the cause was traced to two e-scooters".
The New Paper understands that Mr Goh's cause of death can be confirmed only after investigations are completed and the coroner's report is released.
Fires caused by PMDs being charged in residential units are now more frequent as such devices become more popular.
Last year, there were 74 such fires, a 51 per cent increase from the 49 cases in 2017.
These fires typically happen while the devices were charging or shortly after, said SCDF.
One major culprit is reported to be the use of defective or poor quality batteries.
While many people, including children, had been injured, some severely, there has been no reported fatality until now.
Mr Goh's death has sparked concern among his neighbours.
Some of them told TNP yesterday that while they were not directly affected by the fire, they have become more wary.
A male neighbour, who declined to be named, said: "I didn't use to think too much about (PMDs), but I'm definitely more worried now, especially if neighbours charge them overnight."
As he has three young children, he said he would be concerned if he smells smoke now.
Another neighbour, whose unit is near Mr Goh's, said: "In the past, I would not really notice neighbours with PMDs, but I am now quite worried. All I can do is to be more alert and aware."
The coordinating MP for People's Action Party town councils, Dr Teo Ho Pin, told TNP: "Charging PMDs at home poses certain fire risks. It is crucial that we educate PMD owners to only purchase reliable and certified PMDs."
A new UL2272 standard is being adopted to minimise the risk of such fire incidents. All motorised PMDs used on public paths must be UL2272-certified from 2021.
Mr Teo said users must also take all precautions to ensure charging of PMDs at home is done safely to avoid fire risks, such as keeping them away from combustible materials.
Transport economist Professor Walter Theseira said most HDB flats do not have smoke detectors. He said: "Having them could warn occupants early when a fire breaks out."
Mr Benedict Koh, president of the Fire Safety Managers' Association Singapore, also told The Straits Times that it is good practice to have a fire extinguisher at home.
MP for Nee Soon GRC Lee Bee Wah said she will speak on fires caused by charging PMDs when the Fire Safety Bill is debated in Parliament.
"I will highlight that such fires endanger not only PMD owners but also their neighbours," she told TNP.
"So far, the fires have been contained because the fire safety features in HDB flats are generally good."
Ms Lee will also raise the need for education and deterrent measures to prevent such fires.
"Charging is not allowed in HDB corridors. Perhaps we need more help from SCDF to enforce this," she added.
She also said suggestions to have common charging points in public places warrant further study.
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