Scammers are posing as SP Group employees to sell fire extinguishers after spate of HDB fires this month

The fire extinguisher sales scam came in the wake of a recent breakout of HDB flat fires in July, some of which involved personal mobility devices.
The Straits Times

Energy distribution company SP Group is cautioning members of the public to be wary of individuals posing as its staff to sell fire extinguishers, following a recent breakout of fires in Housing Development Board (HDB) flats.

On Wednesday (July 24), SP Group posted an advisory on its Facebook page to say that it does not sell any products and its employees do not conduct door-to-door sales.

It also advised customers who encounter such salespeople to request and check the identification of the person, and not provide personal particulars to strangers.

According to a Straits Times (ST) report, four fires have broken out at HDB flats this month alone, with the most recent incident on July 22 involving a personal mobility device (PMD) which exploded as it was being charged. This was the second PMD-related fire in less than a week.

In a separate incident this month, an accidental fire linked to three burnt PMDs in a Bukit Batok HDB flat led to the death of a 40-year-old man who was rescued, ST reported.

Statistics from the Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF) reveal that there has been a spike in cases of fire involving PMDs and power-assisted bicycles (PABs), with 74 fires involving such devices recorded last year – a 51 per cent increase from 49 cases in 2017.

The SCDF noted that most PMD and PAB fires involved lithium ion batteries and occurred during or shortly after battery charging.

Another report by ST quoted the Land Transport Authority (LTA) as saying that it will be reviewing whether to set a tighter deadline – currently set as end-2020 – for its ban on all PMDs without a safety certification from public paths, given the spate of fire incidents that happened lately.

Although a ban on the sales of non-UL2272 certified devices took effect earlier this month, riders are currently allowed to ride such devices on public paths until December 31, 2020.

The LTA reportedly said it adopted the UL2272 standard – which requires a PMD to pass a set of tests that “significantly improve safety against fire and electrical hazards” – in September last year to enhance public safety and minimise fire incidents.

The initial deadline was set after taking into account public feedback, including those from users and retailers, ST reported.

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