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90 evacuated in Pipit Road blaze caused by power-assisted bike

They used fire extinguisher and pails of water; 90 Pipit Road residents evacuated

Food delivery rider Abdullah Mohammad Taha was in his kitchen at about 8pm on Wednesday when he heard what sounded like a loud clap of thunder.

He looked out of the kitchen window and saw smoke spewing from the nearby stairwell in his block at 94 Pipit Road.

The 33-year-old, who served as a firefighter with the Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF) during his national service, rushed out of his home and saw a power-assisted bicycle (PAB) burning a few doors away from his ninth-storey flat.

Mr Abdullah said that after calling the SCDF, "I quickly went downstairs to get the fire extinguisher".

His parents, who were having dinner when the explosion occurred, pitched in to help.

"They filled up two big pails with water and we tried to put out the fire before the SCDF came," he said, adding that he and his father used the fire extinguisher and poured water on the PAB for about 10 minutes.

His stepmother, Madam Aishah Abdullah, 52, helped an elderly wheelchair-bound neighbour to evacuate.

SCDF firefighters extinguished the fire with compressed air foam and a water jet. About 90 residents from nearby units were evacuated.

Preliminary investigations indicated that the fire was of electrical origin from the PAB.

When The Straits Times visited yesterday morning, the corridor where the incident happened was dark as the electricity supply had been disrupted.

The walls were black with soot and the floor was wet. A few residents were cleaning up inside and outside their flats.

Mr Faizal Md Razali, 44, who is also a food delivery rider, had borrowed the PAB from a friend. He said he was having dinner with his son outside and no one was home when it caught fire.

Expressing his gratitude to Mr Abdullah, he said: "I am thankful that he looked out for my flat when I was not around."

Mr Faizal said he had borrowed the bike about two weeks ago for his 23-year-old son, who is also doing food delivery.

He said the PAB was not being charged at the time. "The bike had not been charged for two days. The charger was inside the flat."

Mr Faizal said the water pipe in his flat had burst and electrical appliances, such as his television set and computer, were water-damaged. He estimated the damage, including the PAB, was about $10,000.

He added: "I regret that this has happened and am sorry to all my neighbours as this has caused inconvenience to them."

MacPherson MP Tin Pei Ling told ST yesterday the HDB had informed her that the units did not suffer any structural damage and the residents did not need alternative housing.

ACCIDENTS FIRE FLOOD