More inspections on festive decorations to be conducted, after second fire on Orchard Road

SINGAPORE -More inspections of Christmas decorations on Orchard Road will be conducted in the wake of a second fire involving them in the popular shopping belt this month, said the Orchard Road Business Association (ORBA) on Friday. (Dec 11)

On Thursday (Dec 10) night, a piece of decoration tied to a street lamp outside Peranakan Place, near Somerset MRT, caught fire. This was barely a week after a Christmas tree outside Knightsbridge mall went up in flames on Dec 2.

The Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF) said it received a call about the fire at 8.57pm on Thursday, and quickly extinguished it upon arrival using one water jet and one compressed air foam backpack. There were no reported injuries in both incidents.

Mr Steven Goh, executive director of ORBA, which organises the festive light-up each year, said the second fire is treated as an "isolated case" from the first fire.

Mr Goh said investigations into the cause of fire are ongoing and that "all decorations related to the annual Christmas lights along Orchard Road adhere to fire safety regulations".

He added that the association will conduct more inspections on the decorations daily.

While decorations along the road are under ORBA's purview, this does not extend to malls' respective facade lightings and Christmas trees. It has sent out a circular to encourage all stakeholders to conduct regular safety checks on their displays during this festive period, and hopes that the incidents will not affect businesses.

Marketing executive Roanna Tan, 23, who visits Orchard almost every week during the festive season, said the incidents will not deter her from going to Orchard Road to shop.

"I believe these are just one-off freak accidents," she said.

From Jan 1 to Dec 11 this year, the SCDF responded to eight cases of fires involving festive decorations and lightings, up from four such cases in 2014, and six in 2013.

It advises the public to take precautions when putting up decorative lighting fixtures, such as checking them for defects and regularly thereafter for wear and tear.

This article was first published on Dec 11, 2015.
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