SINGAPORE: An air conditioner repairman was sentenced on Thursday (July 22) to ten days in prison for causing a fire for negligence at the headquarters of the police division by throwing a cigarette butt into an area full of garbage.
The fire damaged the wall, ceiling, floor and air conditioning fittings, costing more than $ 5,310.
Indian national Ganesan Shanmugam, 30, pleaded guilty to a felony of negligence that caused a fire by throwing a cigarette butt that had not been extinguished.
The court noted that Shanmugam had been assigned to perform night shift maintenance work at the headquarters of the Ang Mo Kio police division with a colleague.
While he was downstairs next to the main switch, he felt a urge to smoke. It was not convenient for him to go out to smoke as it was raining heavily, so he decided to smoke outside the main switch room, the prosecutor said.
Around 11.45pm, he finished smoking and threw his butt into a nearby area that was full of rubbish, including the discarded cardboard boxes.
He thought the butt of the cigarette had gone out and didn’t check if it was.
Shanmugam went with his companion to rest at a nearby warehouse, but about 20 minutes later, his companion noticed that there was a fire nearby.
They returned to the area where Shanmugam had been smoking and saw the flames. The couple grabbed fire extinguishers and put out the fire before clearing the area.
A service police officer smelled a burning odor, and both police and firefighters soon arrived at the scene. The cause of the fire was sought in Shanmugam, who did not argue that he should throw her butt.
As a result of the fire, the wall, ceiling, floor and air conditioning fittings were damaged. It cost US $ 5313.17 to repair the damage, which was borne by the company ST Synthesis, a branch of ST Engineering services.
The prosecutor asked for two or three weeks in jail, noting Shanmugam’s remorse.
Shanmugam, who had no lawyer and seemed visibly nervous, told the judge that his monthly salary was only $ 800 and that he was not sure if he could afford any fine.
He said he was suffering from neck pain from having to constantly look to repair the air conditioning systems and said he had suffered a lot of stress due to the incident.
He said through an interpreter that perhaps it would be better for him to return home and that he did not intentionally provoke the fire, but he did so through a negligent act that he acknowledged and regretted.
The judge accepted his request to postpone the prison sentence, which Shanmugam will begin serving on Monday.
For causing arson for negligence, he could have been imprisoned for up to 18 months and fined.