SINGAPORE: A spate of fires linked to electric scooters, electric bicycles and other personal mobility devices (PMDs) in recent months has led the Land Transport Authority (LTA) to consider reviewing a deadline for the devices to meet fire safety standards.
In September last year, Senior Minister of State for Transport Lam Pin Min announced in Parliament that all motorised PMDs must meet fire safety standards by 2021 to ensure public safety.
But on Tuesday (Jul 23), LTA said that in light of recent fires related to the charging of non-UL2272-certified devices, it is considering bringing forward the deadline.
In 2017, there were 49 fires involving PMDs, according to statistics released by the Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF) earlier this year. This number spiked by more than 50 per cent to 74 in 2018.
Just this month alone, at least three fires that led to death, injuries and ravaged homes took place across the island.
Here are some of the fires reported in recent months.
JUL 22: ANG MO KIO
In the latest fire on Jul 22, 60 people had to be evacuated from Block 224 Ang Mo Kio Avenue 1 after a fire broke out at a flat on the fourth floor.
Four people, including three children, were rescued from a neighbouring unit by firefighters.
SCDF's preliminary investigation found that the fire was caused by a PMD that was placed in the kitchen.
JUL 18: BUKIT BATOK
Just four days before the Ang Mo Kio incident, a fire broke out at a 26th-floor flat at Block 293D Bukit Batok Street 21.
There were three burnt PMDs in the unit, according to SCDF.
A man and woman who were inside the flat were injured and rescued by firefighters. About 70 residents in the block were evacuated, and an elderly man was hurt during the evacuation.
The man who was rescued from the flat died from his injuries, the police said in a statement two days later.
JUL 8: TAMPINES
Earlier this month, a fire ravaged the living room of a Tampines flat where a PMD battery was being charged.
Firefighters responded to the fire at an HDB maisonette, located on the fourth level of Block 125 Tampines Street 11.
A man and a woman were rescued from the burning flat. No injuries were reported in the incident.
JUN 8: ANG MO KIO AND MARINE TERRACE
Two fires sparked by PMDs were reported on Jun 8.
One of the incidents was at Block 301 Ang Mo Kio Avenue 3, where a PMD battery being charged sparked a fire in a flat's bedroom.
Another fire took place at a flat in Block 52 Marine Terrace, similarly involving a PMD battery being charged. The fire was put out by the flat's occupant with buckets of water.
The occupant suffered burn injuries and was taken to a hospital, SCDF said.
APR 9: WOODLANDS
A teenager and a firefighter suffered burns after a fire broke out at a fifth-floor flat in Block 159 Woodlands Street 13 on Apr 9.
Firefighters had to break into the flat, where they rescued the teenager, a woman and two children who were trapped in the kitchen.
Five other occupants in the neighbouring units were also evacuated.
Besides the teenager and firefighter, four people – including the two children rescued from the flat – were taken to the hospital for smoke inhalation.
Preliminary investigations found that the fire was sparked by a PMD that was left charging in a bedroom.