Fatal blaze in an ‘improvised dormitory’ was an accident: State Coroner

geylang fire

The deaths of two Bangladeshi construction workers in a deadly fire was an accident, ruled State Coroner Marvin Bay on Friday (Oct 2). The cause of the fire was electrical in nature, Mr Bay said.

Mr Mamun Abdullah Ali, 20, and Mr Hosen Ali, 22, were found inside their room with no visible injuries. Mamun was found lying on the floor, and Hosen was discovered in his bed. Both men were pronounced dead at the scene by attending SCDF officers.

The fire broke out in the early hours of Apr 3, 2015, when most occupants of the second-storey unit at Lorong 6 Geylang were asleep. The unit, converted into “an improvised dormitory” had been rented out to 34 foreign workers living in 12 makeshift rooms separated by partitions.

The joint owners of the unit, two Singaporean couples, said they were unaware the unit was being used to house so many foreign workers. Mr and Mrs Vesuvanathan and Mr and Mrs Baalakrishnan had rented the unit to a main tenant, under an agreement that not more than eight people would reside in the unit at a time.

However, the court heard that the main tenant, Mr Ho Kien Heng, went on to sub-let the unit to another man without the owners’ knowledge, and without informing him of the occupancy cap.

Neither the owners nor the main or sub-tenants lived in the unit.

The sub-tenant, Mr Neo Wee Seng, then claims that a friend, Bangladeshi national Jahir Raihan Billal, known as “Johid”, helped him find other foreign workers to rent the unit to.

Johid fled to Bangladesh after the fire and cannot be contacted.

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