Written Replies to Parliamentary Questions

Written Reply to Parliamentary Questions on Number of HDB Estate Fires in the Past Three Years and Adequacy of Current Legislation to Deal With Fire Hazard Risks Within Residences

Published: 04 July 2022


Ms Foo Mee Har:
To ask the Minister for Home Affairs (a) in the past three years, what is the number of fire cases in HDB estates; (b) what are the top three reasons for these fire incidents; and (c) whether cluttered homes filled with combustible materials is a key risk factor.

Mr Liang Eng Hwa: To ask the Minister for Home Affairs (a) whether the current legislation is adequate to proactively deal with fire hazard risks within residential homes; and (b) whether there is the need to expand enforcement powers to reduce risk of fire in cluttered homes.


Mr K Shanmugam, Minister for Home Affairs and Minister for Law:

1.   This will address Oral Question Numbers 55 and 56, Written Question Number 9, and the question filed by Mr Edward Chia for a future sitting.

2.   The number of fire cases in HDB estates has been steadily decreasing over the past five years, from 1,260 cases in 2017 to 898 cases in 2021. We assess that the general fire situation in residential premises is stable, and the current legislation as well as enforcement powers are adequate.

3.   In the past five years, the main causes of fires in HDB estates were unattended cooking, indiscriminate disposal of lighted materials such as cigarette butts, and fires of electrical origin which could be caused by faulty wirings and electrical appliances. Cluttered homes have not been a key fire risk.

4.   Most household items such as furniture and electrical appliances are made of plastic, wood or metal, which do not catch fire easily. Hence, the Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF) does not regulate them, regardless of quantity.

5.   On the other hand, flammable materials are more tightly regulated by SCDF. The flammable materials regulated by SCDF are listed in the Fourth Schedule of the Fire Safety (Petroleum and Flammable Materials) Regulations. This list is reviewed periodically and SCDF has assessed that there is no need to expand the list for now.

6.   The most common flammable material found in residential units is liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) in cylinders, which is used for domestic cooking. However, based on past records, LPG has not been a common cause of residential fires. In any case, the storage of regulated flammable materials beyond the allowable quantities without a valid licence is an offence under the Fire Safety Act, and SCDF will issue a Notice of Offence (NOO) for such cases.

7.   On average, 11 NOOs were issued annually, to occupiers or owners of residential premises used for housing workers, over the last five years. There was no infringement observed for other residential types, including HDB flats, over the same period.

8.   SCDF, in partnership with the People’s Association (PA), the National Fire and Emergency Preparedness Council (NFEC) and Community Emergency and Engagement (C2E) Committees, has been organising a series of Community Resilience Days in residential heartlands to impart lifesaving skills and to raise fire safety awareness. SCDF has also been working with the NFEC and HDB to educate new homeowners on fire safety and emergency preparedness through the MyNiceHome Roadshows. SCDF and the NFEC will continue with efforts to increase public awareness on fire prevention and staying safe in the event of a fire at home.