Big Roadside LED Ad Board Catches Fire In Malaysia, Briefly Trapping Maintenance Workers On Top Of Burning Screen

June 3, 2024 by Dave Haynes

A big LED ad board along a major roadway on the outskirts of Kuala Lumpur in Malaysia caught fire on Friday, trapping nine workers who were on top of the thing doing maintenance.

The fire is being attributed to a short circuit on the base of the display, but the workers – who all managed to get down with minor or no injuries – were also blamed for ignoring some basic safety protocols. The board was, at least according to reports, not even turned off as they worked.

This video shows the fire in progress and scans to the top, where workers are perched and not having the best of days.

When I was at ISE a few months back, I ran into a Germany company, Screen Experts, whose stand was specifically marketing the fireproof properties of its LED displays. The company has patented IP for LED displays that are fire-proofed – with the product aimed at public spaces like airports and mass transport.

Most LED screens are made using flammable materials – most notably the plastics – which can burn easily, go gooey and drip, and generate what can be toxic smoke.  There are now jobs, particularly those involving large public indoor spaces like airports, that require fire safety built into the materials.

Fire safety is, of course, less of a concern outside on a highway roadside, but it is still a fire and the smoke is going to be nasty.

There are lots of comments on Linkedin from people who have seen reports of this incident and attributed it to the inevitable outcome of buying cheap displays. Probably, but we don’t really know.

The larger lesson here is that this stuff can burn, so plan and source accordingly.

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