Now scared to turn on electricity, Yishun resident says after 5 extension cords powering fish tanks catch fire

Now scared to turn on electricity, Yishun resident says after 5 extension cords powering fish tanks catch fire
PHOTO: Shin Min Daily News

To power his six tanks, fish hobbyist Liang had resorted to using five extension cords, linking them all the way from the entrance of his Yishun flat to the end of his living room. 

But an electrical short circuit from one of the cords then caught fire on Wednesday (Jan 18) at 5.20pm when this 60-year-old was not at home, Shin Min Daily News reported.

But why 'play with fire' with this many extension cords?

The wires from the fish tanks used to keep 20 fishes – including two expensive arowanas – were not long enough to connect to one of the electrical outlets in his living room, according to Liang.

He had bought the extension cords two years ago for $10 each to power the air pumps for his aquarium. 

"I did not expect such a thing to happen," the man said, adding that the items on his table such as fish food and water filter, were partially burnt.

It was not reported if his fish survived the fire. 

Liang shared that he is now scared to turn on the electrical supply at home and will reflect on his "inappropriate" way of using extension cords.

Smelt of burnt plastic

In an interview with Shin Min Daily News, Liang's next-door neighbour said that she did not pay much attention at first even when the affected unit smelt of burnt plastic.

She only realised after being informed by a neighbour about the thick smoke, the 63-year-old salesperson said.

"The owner of that unit lived alone and was not at home when the fire broke out. SCDF personnel immediately broke down the door and entered the house to put out the blaze."

Responding to AsiaOne's queries on Thursday (Jan 19), the Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF) said that the fire involved contents on the table of the unit.

After forcing entry into the unit, the SCDf extinguished the fire before it could spread further, by using two compressed air foam backpacks.

There were no reported injuries, the SCDF said, adding that the fire is likely to have been caused by an electrical origin.

Safety hazard

Besides the extension cords being a fire safety hazard, Liang shared that SCDF personnel had advised him to clean up his house.

The unit, especially the living room, was filled with mountains of debris - from stacks of old newspapers, books, CDs and plastic bags that left only enough space for one person to walk through.

The items in his home piled up as he is too exhausted from work every day to tidy them up, Liang explained.

"SCDF officers have also advised me to tidy them up, so I will come up with a solution as soon as possible," the man said, while thanking his neighbours for their help.

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