Geylang house fire 'accidental, electrical in origin'

Geylang house fire 'accidental, electrical in origin'
Police have ruled out foul play in the fire that broke out on the first storey of the walk-up apartment with bedrooms.

The cause of a fire that broke out in a Geylang house last December and claimed four lives was accidental and appeared to be electrical in origin, a coroner's court heard yesterday.

Testifying at an inquest into the deaths of four Malaysian cleaners on Dec 6 last year, Inspector Mervyn Lee Ming Wei said the fire had probably originated in the space outside one of the rooms known as Room 10.

In the space was a pile of styrofoam boxes, electrical cooking appliances, a shoe rack and a multi-extension socket outlet.

Mr Jubitol Rumanjing, 37, Mr Ramu Kotiah, 50, and Mr Yusoff Masrong, 49, were pronounced dead at the three-storey pre- war house in Lorong 4 Geylang that morning, while Mr Maslan Musundo, 43, died in Tan Tock Seng Hospital shortly later.

The cause of death was smoke inhalation.

A worker sharing the room with the four Malaysians was awakened by shouts of fire at about 1.10am. He woke up the others in the room.

The occupants could not agree whether to wait inside the room for help or to flee.

Eventually three left, with one suffering some burns, while the four died.

According to Singapore Civil Defence Force fire investigation team leader Yazeed Abdul Rahman, the most probable cause of fire was electrical in origin and was accidental.

Insp Lee, from Bedok Police Division, stated that heat from the energised wirings/connections of the fluorescent lighting in the common area outside Room 10 was probably the ignition source.

The fluorescent lighting and combustible materials in the area were the ignition fuels.

The inquiry was adjourned to June 25.

This article was first published on June 3, 2015.
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