Singapore

Three suspected PMD fires over the weekend worry residents

Residents getting more worried as reports of PMD-related fires increase

Calm turned to chaos in a Circuit Road block last Saturday afternoon after an explosion rocked a seventh-storey flat.

A woman in her 50s, who wanted to be known only as Madam Kho, said the moment she heard the explosion, she and her sister, who was visiting, fled their eighth-storey unit with her 16-year-old son, their dog and three pet turtles.

Recalling how scared she was, Madam Kho told The New Paper yesterday: "I was frustrated as it was chaotic and it was tiring to evacuate."

The Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF) said it responded to a fire in a seventh-storey unit in Block 85 Circuit Road at 3.35pm last Saturday.

An SCDF spokesman said preliminary investigations indicated that it was an electrical fire originating from the battery of a power-assisted bicycle (PAB).

Residents were evacuated and there were no reported injuries, she added.

Residents at the block said they are worried as personal mobility device (PMD) and PAB fires are becoming more common.

Madam Kamaliah Abdul Ghani, who lives next door to the unit that caught fire, said she knew little of her neighbours.

The 58-year-old called the police the moment she heard the explosion and fled her flat with her father, 94, and son, 23.

"I am so scared now, more than ever, as it (a PMD fire) happened right beside me," she said.

Her husband, Mr Mohd Sari, 57, who was at work at the time, said: "PMDs themselves are not the problem but when the parts are modified, that's where the problem lies."

The Circuit Road fire happened barely 24 hours after another suspected PMD fire.

On Friday, at about 4.10pm, SCDF responded to a fire in an 11th storey unit in Block 120B, Rivervale Drive.

The owner was taken to the Singapore General Hospital for smoke inhalation and preliminary investigations indicated the fire originated from a PMD which was being charged.

In a third case over the weekend, SCDF said it responded to a fire at Geylang Lorong 4, which affected two third-storey shophouse units on Sunday.

About 20 people were evacuated and there were no reported injuries.

While investigations are ongoing, Chinese-language newspaper Lianhe Zaobao reported yesterday that the fire started from a PMD that was being charged.

TNP understands that the foreign workers who were renting the affected units have been allocated temporary housing.

According to SCDF, there have been a total of 54 reported incidents of fire involving PMDs and PABs from January to June this year, a 125 per cent increase from the 24 cases during the same period last year.

ACCIDENTS FIRE FLOOD