The death of the NSF firefighter Edward H. Go in the Henderson fire has been tragic news hanging over the heads of Singaporeans.
He was the first person from the SCDF to have lost his life during an operation.
Now, we know what the likely cause of the fire was.
Henderson Fire Leading To NSF’s Death Likely Of Electrical Origin
On Saturday (10 Dec), the Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF) revealed that based on preliminary investigations, the now notorious fire at Block 91 Henderson Road was likely of electrical origin.
It is unclear what exactly “electrical origin” refers to.
The SCDF also further revealed that the fire likely originated in the bedroom.
It could be a mobile device, a broken wire or maybe a faulty heater—we wouldn’t know.
On Thursday (8 Dec), firefighters donning breathing apparatus forcibly entered the fourth-floor unit to put out the blaze.
The SCDF was alerted to the fire at about 11:10 am, and by the time they arrived at the scene, the fire was already raging.
One of the firefighters, Cpl Go, fell unconscious in the kitchen area.
The firefighters took Cpl Go out of the two-room unit and attempted to resuscitate him but to no avail.
The 19-year-old NSF firefighter was eventually sent to the Singapore General Hospital, where he subsequently passed away.
His wake will take place on Sunday, with the funeral on Tuesday.
Fewer Fires in Recent Years, But Fatalities From Fires on The Rise
With the recent Sengkang condominium fire, coupled with news of this unfortunate SCDF operation, suffice it to say that fire cases have taken the limelight.
While it may seem like the spate of fire cases we’ve been reading about in the news may point towards a rise in fire-related incidents, the fact of the matter is: fire-related incidents have been falling over the last few years.
From the annual statistics published by the SCDF, it appears that the number of total fire calls has seen a steady decline from 2019 to 2021.
In 2019, there were 2656 fire calls, but by 2021, the number of fire calls had fallen to 1844.
That’s almost a 30 per cent decrease in total fire calls.
When it comes to the severity of these fire cases, however, the statistics are alarming. With fewer fires, one would expect fewer injuries and fatalities, but this is not the case.
In 2019, there were 142 fire injuries and one fatality.
In 2021 however, there were 194 fire injuries and three fatalities.
Even with the falling number of fire calls, it appears that the number of fire injuries and fatalities has been on the rise.
While the statistics for 2022 are yet to be released by the SCDF, scrutinising the more prominent fire-related incidents this year already points towards a higher number of fire-related fatalities this year compared to 2021.
Fundamental Cause of Fires in HDB Estates Includes Fires of Electrical Origins
As early as July 2022, the issue of HDB fire-related incidents was already raised in parliament.
Ms Foo Mee Har, Member of Parliament (MP) for West Coast Group Representation Constituency (GRC), had filed a parliamentary question regarding the above in July 2022.
Mr K Shanmugam, Minister for Home Affairs and Minister for Law, responded to Ms Foo’s questions.
Mr Shanmugam had attributed the key causes of fires in HDB estates to unattended cooking, indiscriminate disposal of lighted materials such as cigarette butts, and fires of electrical origin.
He added that these “fires of electrical origin” could be caused by faulty wirings and electrical appliances.
Now, you know what to look out for in your homes that could cause a fire.
While often disregarded by many, fire safety remains an essential consideration for all of us. With the recent increase in fire-related incidents appearing on the news, fire safety has definitely come into the spotlight once more.
The next time you feel like overloading an electrical outlet, leaving your Indomie to cook while you take a Netflix break, or flicking your cigarette butt down the rubbish chute, think twice.
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