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‘We got out just in time’: Grab driver and passengers narrowly escape car bursting into flames

‘We got out just in time’: Grab driver and passengers narrowly escape car bursting into flames

Footage of the incident along the Central Expressway (CTE). (Image: Saurav Tiwari)

  • A car burst into flames on Sunday night along the Central Expressway (CTE)
  • SCDF said it was alerted to the fire at about 9.30pm
  • There were no reported injuries

SINGAPORE: A Grab driver and his three passengers narrowly escaped their vehicle before it burst into flames on Sunday night (Sep 5).

The incident happened along the Central Expressway (CTE) towards Seletar Expressway (SLE), before the Yio Chu Kang exit. The Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF) said on Tuesday that it was alerted to the fire at about 9.30pm.

The fire was extinguished using a water jet, said SCDF, adding that there were no injuries.

"The cause of the fire is under investigation,” it said in response to CNA queries.

A video tweeted on Tuesday by Mr Saurav Tiwari, one of the passengers, showed a black car burning on a chevron marking at an expressway. "We got out just in time!" he was heard saying.

Speaking to CNA, Mr Tiwari said he was with his flatmate Mr Ankur Sharma and a friend, Ms Richa Tibarewal. They boarded the Grab vehicle at around 9pm when they suddenly smelled smoke.

“The car started filling up inside and we could definitely smell it and we could see the smoke around the car also,” the 34-year-old said, adding that they panicked after seeing motorcyclists pointing towards the car.

According to Mr Tiwari, the driver tried to look for a road shoulder where he could stop the car, but there were too many vehicles on the expressway. It took them 40 to 50 seconds before they managed to stop at the chevron marking.

As they were trying to escape, Mr Sharma - who was sitting on the right rear seat - found that his door was jammed. The two passengers in the back managed to rush out from the left rear door.

Mr Sharma and the driver briefly tried to find out where the smoke was coming from.

“He opened the boot while checking where the smoke was coming from and then he saw a whole cloud of smoke coming out of the boot of the car and so we backed out and that’s when I started the video,” said Mr Tiwari. 

Within three to four minutes, the car burst into flames, he said.

Mr Tiwari said Grab Singapore has reached out to them to check on their wellbeing. The ride-hailing company also informed them that the matter was under investigation and that the authorities might contact them as well.

In a statement to CNA, Grab said that it was working with relevant parties to investigate the cause of the incident.

“That said, safety has always been a top priority for Grab, and our driver-partners are reminded to regularly maintain their vehicles and keep them in good condition, to help ensure higher overall safety standards on our platform,” the company said.

Mr Tiwari said he posted the video on Twitter as he wanted to raise the matter to Grab and the authorities.

“They really need to come up with good security measures because we were lucky to escape it,” he said, adding that they might have been hurt if the doors were all jammed.

“That was the intent of the post,” he said. “That Grab, or other cab companies who are providing vehicles to the driver … they should maybe go back to the drawing board and see what went wrong and how this could have been avoided for other people who would not be as lucky to have that kind of window period between when they realise there’s a problem and then eventually engulf the whole car in a huge fire.”

Source: CNA/cc(gs)

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