S'pore man escapes BMW as it bursts into flames on the BKE

The driver heard "clear audible sparking noises" coming from his fuse box.

Andrew Koay | March 07, 2021, 08:30 PM

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While driving his BMW on the Bukit Timah Expressway (BKE) towards the Pan Island Expressway (PIE), Lester Cher noticed a burnt smell within his car.

Little did he know that the smell would eventually develop into a huge flame that would destroy his car and require the attendance of firefighters on the afternoon of Mar. 6.

Though he initially dismissed the smell as coming from outside, the white smoke that was soon emitting from the passenger-side air-conditioning vent gave him cause to pull over.

"There was totally no warning light/messages and the engine was fine," he wrote in a Facebook post.

Image of Cher's BMW Image by Lester Cher

Yet, the smoke did not cease, instead it got darker and heavier.

"That's when I suspected that the source of the smoke may be from the fuse box and truly, it was."

BMW bursts into flames

Cher described how he could hear "clear audible sparking noises" as he removed the lid of the fuse box behind the glove compartment.

He then proceeded to alert emergency services and kept a distance away from his car for fear that it might explode.

Expressway Monitoring Advisory System (EMAS) soon attended to the incident and attempted to fight the fire with a portable extinguisher.

However, this proved ineffective.

"A few minutes later, it grew bigger and very soon the car was totally engulfed by the flames," wrote Cher.

Image of Cher's BMW on fire Image by Lester Cher

SCDF responds to the fire

Responding to queries from Mothership, the Singapore Civil Defence Force said they were alerted to a fire on the BKE towards PIE after Bukit Panjang Exit around 1:35pm.

They extinguished the fire using a water jet and a compressed air foam backpack.

GIF of SCDF fighting the burnt car Video by Lester Cher

No injuries were reported and the cause of the fire is still under investigation.

"Even though shaken and traumatised, I thank God for His protection that I’m still alive to be share this account and to be able to see my loved ones at the end of the day," said Cher.

Cher told Mothership that he had bought the secondhand BMW X-1 in August 2020. It had been registered in November 2016.

His BMW was still under warranty and had actually had its fuse replaced just two days prior to the incident.

"No mods to car," he added in his Facebook post.

Image of Cher's burnt BMW Image by Lester Cher

Image of Cher's burnt BMW Image by Lester Cher

Top image by Lester Cher