Singapore – Videos of residents spraying water from their balconies to help douse the raging fire at a nearby unit are circulating online, garnering praise from netizens.
On Saturday (Dec 19), six people were rescued, and about 100 nearby residents were evacuated from a fire that broke out in a condominium at Punggol. According to the Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF), the fire had “fully engulfed” a bedroom in a two-level unit on the 16th floor at the Waterwoods condominium in Punggol Field Walk.
It appears that before the SCDF arrived at the scene, nearby neighbours had tried to contain the flames by using hose reels from their homes.
According to a 99.co post, a resident on the 14th floor was informed of the fire from another neighbour. “My wife heard an unusual cracking sound, and my first reaction was that another unit was undergoing renovation works,” said the resident, Mr Koh.
“Then, our neighbours from the opposite block started shouting across at us and pointing towards our direction. I took a quick glance and saw that the unit diagonally above had caught fire,” said Mr Koh.
The concerned resident then advised the neighbours to call SCDF and 995.
It was noted in the report that Mr Koh had previous training in emergency fire response. He went up to the 16th-floor unit which was on fire to check if they could pull the hose reel directly to the fire; however, no one answered.
Mr Koh went to the floor above to access the hose reel, all the while thinking that the trajectory of the water from a higher vantage point would be ideal. The 30-metre length of the hose reel reached into the adjacent unit’s balcony.
“We wanted to see if the water could reach the fire from the balcony,” said Mr Koh. He knew that the hose reel’s nozzle could project water up to six metres in length, which happened to be about the same distance from the room on fire.
There was also a teenage boy trapped inside the penthouse of the unit directly above the burning room, noted 99.co. “We tried to communicate with him and asked him if there as anyone else in the house,” said Mr Koh. “From his expression, he looked scared and was very flustered. [The boy] couldn’t really shout over to us, so we had to try to communicate through sign language.” They told him to stay calm, reassuring the boy that the SCDF was coming “so he wouldn’t panic or make rash or wrong decisions.”
When the SCDF arrived, Mr Koh handed over the hose reel before proceeding to evacuate the area with other residents.
In another video uploaded by Complaint Singapore, another resident from the floor below him followed suit and tried directing their hose reel at the fire.
It was their efforts in trying that gained appreciation from the online community. “It is like pissing in a volcano. Effort 100%, result 0%. Give that guy a medal for effort!,” said Redditor Wowmich. “Wah honestly this is damn sweet sia nice guy,” said another.