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Power bank catches fire on a train at Somerset MRT station

Updated: Oct 25, 2023

A power bank caught fire in an MRT train on Tuesday (May 24), resulting in commuters having to disembark at Somerset station as a precaution.

In a statement on Wednesday, operator SMRT said the incident took place at around 12.10pm the day before on a north-bound train along the North-South Line.

A commuter quickly helped put out the fire, said SMRT Trains president Lam Sheau Kai.

"Our staff were on site to assist. As a safety precaution, all commuters disembarked at Somerset station," he said.

There were no reports of commuters needing medical aid, Mr Lam added.

A video posted on Facebook shows commuters exiting the train, some covering their mouths, with smoke billowing around them.

The affected train was withdrawn to the depot for further checks, Mr Lam said.

He added that SMRT will help the Public Transport Security Command with investigations.

Safety Tips on Power Banks Power banks are generally rechargeable lithium-ion or lithium-polymer batteries that are used to provide a portable source of power for electronic devices. Although generally considered safe, they can catch fire or cause burns if they malfunction.

Understand the product

Before buying a product, ask questions like:

  • Does this power bank come with operating and safety instructions?

  • How do I charge the power bank?

  • How do I charge my device with the power bank?

  • Are the different ports indicated clearly?

  • What type of cables and chargers can I use? Are these supplied with the power bank or do I have to use my own?

  • How can I tell when the power bank is fully charged?

  • How much time is needed for a full charge?

  • What will happen if the power bank is fully charged but still connected to the charging source? Is there automatic power-off?

  • What safety features does this power bank come with?

  • What safety testing and certification information is available?

Safety protection features

Look for power banks that come with safety protection features, such as over-charge protection, short-circuit protection, over-temperature or over-heat protection, over-current protection or over-voltage protection.

Instructions for use

Always read operating and safety instructions as well as understand how the power bank should be used. Take note of warnings and avoid mishandling the product.

Who is the manufacturer?

Consider a trusted brand and buy a power bank that comes with a warranty. Find out if there is an authorised service centre that you can contact in the event of any product-related issue or incident.

False representation

Take note that certain power banks have been incorrectly advertised as “SPRING Singapore approved” or “Enterprise Singapore approved”. Please note that Enterprise Singapore (previously SPRING Singapore) does not require a registration or approval process for power banks. Suppliers are to ensure that power banks meet the relevant safety requirements before they are sold in Singapore.

Some Dos and Don’ts

  • Charging: Avoid leaving your power bank on prolonged charge as this may cause it to overheat. Follow the manufacturer’s guidelines on the time required to fully charge your power bank. If the power bank becomes excessively hot during charging or discharging, unplug it from the power source or your mobile device immediately. Avoid charging the power bank on places that build up heat, such as on your bed.

  • Avoid short circuits: Keep your power bank away from metal objects such as coins, paper clips and keys. Do not insert any metal objects into the USB output port or joining terminals of the power bank. Short circuits may present risks of excessive heat, fire or explosion.

  • Storage: Keep the power bank in a cool and dry place away from heat sources, moisture and dust. Avoid leaving the power bank in places with high temperature such as cars parked under the sun.

  • Avoid applying excessive force on the power bank or dropping the power bank: By doing so, it may damage the internal components of the power bank and risk short circuiting the device when used. Always inspect the power bank and refrain from using it if leakage, strange odours, colour changes, deformation or any unusual occurrences are detected.

  • Do not allow children to use and play with the power bank.

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