SINGAPORE: Between January and April, Singapore saw a 15 per cent decrease in the number of fires: 1,275 this year, compared to 1,502 cases in the same period last year, the Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF) said on Thursday (May 18).
Thirteen of these cases involved rechargeable batteries such as those found in electric bicycles, personal mobility devices and power banks, SCDF said, noting the rise in the number of such fires. This was an increase of five cases from the same period last year.
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SCDF cited a case on May 7, in which someone had left a power bank charging unattended in a bedroom for several hours and it caught fire.
There was no one at home at the time of the fire, and investigations subsequently showed that the fire was caused by the battery.
Battery fires can be caused by faulty electrical circuitry that may lead to the batteries short-circuiting, SCDF said. It cautioned against overcharging the battery, especially leaving it to charge overnight. Overcharging can do permanent damage to the battery and cause it to swell, SCDF said, adding that some models do not have a power cut-off function to prevent overcharging, and this could spark a fire.
SCDF called for members of the public to exercise caution in preventing battery fires, and also issued fire safety tips for homes as well as eating establishments and other commercial and industrial premises.
The advisory came on the back of several recent fires, including a fire at Changi Airport that caused Terminal 2 to be shut temporarily; a fire at construction site in Punggol that left two workers stranded on a gondola; and a fire at I12 Katong mall.
SCDF said that members of the public should report any fire hazards they spot, by calling 1800-280-0000, emailing SCDF_Fire_Safety_Feedback@scdf.gov.sg or sending photographs of the hazards using the "mySCDF" mobile phone app.