There were fewer vehicle fires last year, but the number still worked out to be one every two days.
The Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF) said there were 195 such fires last year, a drop of 11.8 percent from 221 in 2018.
The number for last year was also among the lowest in a decade.
WHY THERE WERE FEWER FIRES
Reasons for the fall are unclear, although public education programmes were launched after incidents spiked in 2018.
Observers said the population mix of vehicles had also changed. Older diesel taxis gave way to new petrol-electric hybrids. Compressed natural gas vehicles are all but gone.
The SCDF said that to prevent vehicle fires, vehicle owners should maintain and service their vehicles regularly. The electrical, engine and fuel systems should be checked to ensure they are in proper working order.
It added that owners should also look out for fluid leaks in between regular servicing.
WHAT TO DO IF YOUR CAR CATCHES FIRE
The SCDF said most vehicle fires occur when the car is on the move. It advises motorists to pull over to the road shoulder in the event of a fire, switch off the ignition and vacate the vehicle.
If fire is small, try to extinguish the flames with a fire extinguisher if one is on hand.
Motorist Kenneth Tan experienced a vehicle fire on Friday last week with his five-year-old Volvo V60. The 50-year-old IT manager was on his way to work when the car stalled as he was turning into a carpark.
“All the alarms on the dashboard started flashing, and the wipers and horn came on,” he recalled. A colleague walking by waved him to get out of the car, which was starting to emit smoke from under the bonnet.
“A passer-by ran to a guardhouse nearby and came back with an extinguisher to put out the fire.”
Mr Tan said he was “shocked” by the incident. He claims to have taken his car for regular maintenance at the authorised agent. The last servicing was completed on January 20.
He added that he has never taken his car to any other workshop or made any modifications to it.
A spokesman for Wearnes Automotive, the authorised agent for Volvo cars, said the case is being investigated. It has provided Mr Tan with a courtesy car.
MAIN CAUSES OF VEHICLE FIRES
The main causes of vehicle fires are related to engine overheating and electrical faults within the engine compartment, said the SCDF.
It also indicated that modifications could increase the chances of vehicle fires. “Vehicle owners are advised against any unauthorised additions or modifications to their vehicles,” it added.
Transport consultant Gopinath Menon said: “A vehicle fire on an open road is dangerous only to the occupants. But a vehicle fire in a closed space, like our road tunnels, is dangerous to all motorists.”
He reckons that vehicle fires should decrease with the wider use of electric vehicles as such vehicles have far fewer combustible fluids than petrol or diesel ones.
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