HDB Residents Who Burnt Paper Offerings Flouted Fire Safety Rules

Two HDB residents in Tanjong Pagar took the term “lit” to a literal level early yesterday morning.

video posted on Facebook shows them burning paper along the corridors of their flats for the Mid-Autumn celebrations:

Residents burn paper offerings along corridor

Shortly after the video begins, a resident on the upper floor of a Tanjong Pagar HDB building is seen throwing pieces of paper into the small fire outside her unit.

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A few seconds later, a resident two floors below does the same.

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Both of them appear to continue burning more offerings, without interference from their neighbours until the video ends.

Ignited a fiery debate

While netizens were understanding of the religious practice, the video sparked heated debates about fire safety along HDB corridors.

Scores of disapproving comments pointed out that the residents’ actions put the safety of their neighbours at risk.

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Netizens also pointed out that residents could have used the bins in the designated areas provided to burn their incense papers instead.

We think they have a valid point as HDB has listed this clearly under “Fire Safety” in its list of House Rules online.

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Tolerating religious practices out of respect?

However, not all netizens were incensed by these reports.

Some justified the residents’ actions on the grounds of tradition. According to them, HDB residents have been burning papers for a long time without much complaints from neighbours till recent years.

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They added that complaints shouldn’t be made against religious practices out of respect.

Not the first time

This isn’t the first time that the burning of incense papers in HDB estates has fanned some flames among residents.

In August, a HDB resident shared on Facebook about a similar problem he was facing with his neighbour during the Hungry Ghost Festival.

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In his post, he clearly states that he’s mainly concerned about the health and safety of his infant at home.

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Netizens’ reactions to this incident were the same as the latest case, citing that papers should be burned in the designated bins.

Residents’ safety is still a top priority

Although it used to be a norm to burn papers outside housing units, it’s important to consider why HDB has put the fire safety rules in place.

The corridor is a common area for many HDB units. Any amount of burning would emit smoke that could enter homes and pose harm to the residents.

HDB hasn’t banned residents from their religious rituals — the current rules are merely in place to prevent the harmful side effects of smoke on young children or residents with respiratory diseases.

We think it’s possible to strike a balance between carrying out traditional rituals, and ensuring all residents are comfortable and safe in their home environments.

Featured image from Facebook.