BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN – The Fire and Rescue Department has reported 41 vehicle fire cases that caused $119,750 worth of damage in the first five months of this year.

The number of vehicle fire incidents increased from January to May this year compared to 40 cases recorded in the same period last year.

Fire and Rescue Department commander Pg Hj Asmali Pg Hj Ahmad attributed the main causes of vehicle fires to engines’ damaged electrical system and mechanical problems.

Human error and negligence as well as open burning were also blamed for vehicle fires.

Speaking in a press conference with the Land Transport Department (LTD) and Royal Brunei Police Force (RBPF) on Monday, Pg Hj Asmali said a damaged electrical system in the engine include problems with the vehicle’s anti-lock braking system and fuse box.

Mechanical issues involve the leakage of oil hoses or ducts on vehicle components.

Fire and Rescue Department commander Pg Hj Asmali Pg Hj Ahmad, who is the department’s head of Vehicle, Engineering and Technical Unit, speaks in a press conference on Monday. Photo: Rasidah Hj Abu Bakar/The Scoop

The Fire and Rescue Department recommends motorists to keep the multi-purpose 1kg dry chemical powder fire extinguisher in their car and adhere to safety guidelines to prevent fire or accidents.

Land Transport Department director Hj Rozaly Hj Saidon said random checks on companies and workshops will be conducted to ensure they comply with the rules.

“We will not hesitate to take action against any individual party or workshop that violates the rules and regulations under Chapter 68 Road Traffic Act”, he said.

Hj Rozaly said modifications to the electronic wiring system are not allowed without taking into account the vehicle’s specifications and the engine’s capabilities.

Inspection of electrical wiring systems, engines and fuel systems as well as vehicle mechanical equipment must be maintained by a mechanic at authorised car workshops.

Motorists are also urged to send their vehicle for periodical maintenance and ensure the use of spare car parts is safe.

Senior Superintendent Pg Hj Abdul Salam Pg Hj Abdul Ghani, acting director of RBPF Investigation and Traffic Control Department, advised motorists to check a used vehicle’s history before purchasing.

He said a used vehicle with a damage history may not be safe on the road.

Motorists were also advised to adhere to rules at filling stations and not leave items such as power banks, mobile phones or flammable oil and gas bottles in their vehicles as they may catch fire after exposure to sunlight.

Any complaints on vehicle modifications can be directed to Darussalam hotline 123, WhatsApp 8333123 or via the Darussalam website by including a picture of the vehicle involved.