Case Study: February 2008, Bukit Batok HDB Electrical Fire

A serious case of an electrical fire caused by a faulty appliance has been recorded in a recent case study by the SCDF. In the detailed fire analysis report, the study highlights the damage done by the fire and what might have caused it.

It’s important to understand this case study so that further measures can be taken to prevent electrical fires. If you are at risk of an electrical fire due to a faulty appliance, you should seek the advice of a HDB electrician right away. By taking a deeper look at the 2008 Bukit Batok incident, you can gain an understanding of some of the dangers of using unchecked electrical appliances.

Case Study Details

In 2008, an 8-year-old girl took a nap in the master bedroom of her apartment. While she slept on the lower bunk of a bunk bed, her father walked in and noticed that the upper bunk was on fire. Without understanding the cause of the fire, he attempted to douse the flames with a bucket of water. Unfortunately, this did not stop the fire, and the flames continued to grow around the room.

As the fire spread rapidly, the father took his daughter out of the room and they evacuated their apartment unit. Later evidence shows that the entire master bedroom was destroyed by the fire. The rest of the apartment suffered from secondary smoke and heat damage as well.

Investigators found a few objects and appliances in the room which has led to confirm their suspicions that the fire was electrical in origin.

What Was the Cause of the Electrical Fault?

In the master bedroom, officials recovered a portable socket outlet, a hi-fi set, and various electrical wires in the room. This can lead to the conclusion that the hi-fi set was faulty or was being plugged into the socket improperly. The portable socket outlet could have been loose or not connected properly to the existing electrical currents in the home. Because of the location of the hi-fi set, portable outlet, and electrical wires, officials were led to believe that these electrical appliances are what started the fire.

One of the most common occurrences of electrical fires is old or faulty electrical outlets. The portable outlet was likely too unfit for use, and the wires were either frayed or worn down, making it an unstable outlet. When the hi-fi set was plugged into it, it required a massive electrical current, which most likely overloaded the outlet and sparked an electrical fire.

Why Do These Faults Occur?

Electrical fires due to faulty outlets are likely to occur when electrical outlets are improperly used. Since outlets provide a direct connection to the powerful electric currents running through your home, they must be treated with extra care and caution when being used.

The two most common causes of electrical fire are:

  • Old or faulty outlets

  • Old or faulty appliances

Since both of the above options were used in the case of the 2008 Bukit Batok fire, it is likely that both of these elements contributed to the electrical fire. While the fire was accidental, it goes to show that you can never be too careful when plugging appliances into sockets.

Safety Tips for Preventing These Kinds of Faults

Learning from the 2008 Bukit Batok case, there are several safety precautions you can take to prevent an electrical fire from occurring. When using electrical outlets, even portable ones, you must be sure to check that it is not loose or worn in any way. If there are any exposed electrical wires, either from the outlet or your appliances, do not use them at all.

You should also familiarize yourself with the SCDF safety procedures and precautions when it comes to preventing electrical fires. You should not plug multiple appliances into an outlet at once, or else you run the risk of overloading your circuits. You must always keep an eye on your appliances, especially entertainment sets and hi-fi units that use up a lot of energy.

Electrical fires start and spread very quickly, so it’s important to keep an eye on all of your cords and wires. When using portable outlets, be sure to check for a safety seal before trusting in its use.