An elderly couple in Singapore and their son were electrocuted to death due to a poorly installed water heater in their house, a coroner's court heard Monday.

After a two-year-long inquiry into the tragic deaths of Omar Abdul Manan, 80, his wife Asmah Bujang, 66, and their son Muhamad Ashikin Omar, 45, it was concluded that the electrocution happened due to the geyser going haywire.

The incident took place on Dec. 10, 2020, in the couple's Ho Ching Road Housing Board flat in Jurong. Omar was found slumped in his bathroom due to electrocution and his wife, who rushed to assist him, was also electrocuted, Straits Times reported.

Senior associate engineer Goh Chin Fong, who was probing into the matter, told the court that the elderly couple's water heater was powered by a three-pin plug connected to a power socket in the kitchen.

Goh further added that the insulation capacity of the cable had also degraded due to prolonged heating from repeated usages and that the circuit cables weren't protected by residual current circuit breaker (RCCB).

When the water heater was switched on, the wires in the three-pin plug had fused together and got "badly burnt" due to overloading, Goh said, according to Mothership. The electric current then flowed to the copper housing of the water heater and energized the metallic water hose that Omar was holding. Omar was barefoot at the time, which caused the current to travel through his body and into the wet ground, electrocuting him instantly.

Omar's son, Ashikin, who reached the house later, was also electrocuted after he touched one of his parents. Following the tragedy, the elderly couple’s daughter told investigators that the water heater was purchased about seven years prior to the deaths and that she had no idea who installed it.

Goh said the tragedy could have been avoided if a double-pole switch with a standalone circuit was used instead of the three-pin plug to power the water heater. Double-pole switches are recommended for appliances that draw large amounts of electricity. Goh urged homeowners to closely examine the connection points meant for the water heaters and in case there's none, he asked to engage a licensed electrical worker to install a standalone circuit for powering the geyser.

Water Heater
A.O. Smith has recalled several models and brands of water heaters due to a fire risk. Consumers can receive a free repair of the affected water heaters from the company. A woman walks past a window display of a natural gas water heater at a Peoples Energy payment center July 11, 2003 in Chicago, Illinois. Getty Images/Tim Boyle