Bukit Batok Fire Hose Reel Had No Water Supply Due To Manual Switch
You may recall a recent HDB fire at Bukit Batok, where SCDF firefighters discovered a padlocked fire hose reel cabinet which had no water supply.
For illustration purposes only
Investigation results have just been released, and it seems that the crisis boiled down to a single switch that was left incorrectly.
Here’s a summary of the full report, via Jurong-Clementi Town Council’s (JCTC) Facebook post on Monday (2 Dec).
Padlocked hose reels found during fire that injured 3 residents
On 9 Nov, a massive fire broke out on the 13th floor of HDB Block 210A in Bukit Batok Street 21.
To make matters worse, the water supply was also cut off, and 3 people were injured in the blaze.
No water supply thanks to wrong switch
Jurong-Clementi Town Council was issued a warning by SCDF for negligence.
Their contractor, identified as JKeart, was in charge of maintaining the fire hose reels. However, they reportedly failed to ensure that “a selector switch at the pump room” was left at the correct settings.
Contractor submitted “signed statements” claiming hose reels were working
Contrary to signed statements by JKeart staff after a scheduled maintenance exercise, the hose reels had not been “properly maintained” 2 weeks prior.
After scrutinising CCTV footage, the town council received a confession from JKeart’s employee who forgot to switch the modes from manual to auto, after a routine check.
This resulted in the water supply being cut off, leaving SCDF officers unable to access water during the fire.
As a result, JCTC will hold JKeart “contractually responsible for the failure”. The contractor has claimed that “appropriate action” has been taken against its employee, who will be “redeployed”.
Padlocked hose reel cabinet deemed “a mistake”
Citing “frequent vandalism”, JCTC’s property officer had decided to “lock the hose reel cabinets”. In their words,
This was a mistake…cabinets could only be opened with force during an emergency, as SCDF had done.
As a result, the officer who made the call will be “redeployed”, and 2 senior officers “penalised”.
Stringent fire hose reel inspections at 7 other estates
To combat other vandalised hose reel cabinets in the 7 other estates JCTC is managing, they’ve conducted strict checks over the month.
They’ll also be taking remedial measures by replacing and repairing damaged or vandalised equipment.
Finally, JCTC will consider changing the design and locking methods for these fire hose reel cabinets to reduce risks of vandalism.
Don’t play with fire equipment please
Life-saving equipment are there for a reason, and we should never make light of them or risk adding fuel to fire in emergency situations.
Hopefully, JCTC’s corrective actions will be sufficient to prevent similar fires and equipment malfunctions from occurring.
Have you spotted vandalised fire hose reel cabinets in your estate? Do let your town councils know ASAP, as a simple tip-off could save lives.