Ms Joan Pereira: To ask the Minister for Home Affairs (a) what is the outcome of SCDF investigations into why escalators catch fire; (b) how can this be prevented; (c) what measures are taken to address the underlying problems; and (d) how many escalators have caught fire in the past five years.
1. Mr Speaker, in the past five years, there were four fire incidents involving escalators.
2. In all four cases, the fires were localised and quickly extinguished. In one case, the fire was caused by sparks from welding works. Two other fires had electrical origins, involving electrical components of the escalator. The most recent escalator fire occurred on 5 February 2018 at Ang Mo Kio MRT Station. Investigations into this case are still ongoing.
3. Regular maintenance is important to ensure that all components of the escalator are in good operating condition. Since November 2016, all escalators must undergo monthly maintenance by a registered escalator service contractor. This includes checking all escalator parts for corrosion or wear and tear. The machinery is also inspected to ensure cleanliness and that the safety components are functioning properly. All escalators must undergo annual examination, inspection and testing by a registered escalator contractor, in the presence of an independent Authorised Examiner. Escalator owners and registered escalator service contractors are also required to inform the Commissioner of Buildings of all reportable escalator incidents.