Sometimes the Chinese phrase 远亲不如近邻 (direct translation: relatives far away not as good as next door neighbours) is really quite true.

Especially when your house is on fire and you are trapped inside.

A 23-year-old man was trapped when his flat in Jalan Besar caught fire on Wednesday and he could not reach his keys.

You can see from the video that his neighbours all tried to chip in. Some brought pails of water to put out the fire. Someone also gave the poor man a wet towel so he wouldn’t choke on the thick smoke, while SCDF tried to cut a path through his locked window and put out the fire with foam and water.

s2Chao ta  until cannot liao. Picture from Wanbao.

The house was really burnt as you can see, so luckily the man survived and was sent to SGH for burn injuries.

Kudos to SCDF but also to the good folks who helped out! Times like this we really need to rely on our fellow brothers and sisters, regardless of race, gender, religion or whatever.

For those of you who have no neighbours and are completely clueless on what to do if a fire breaks out at home, we suggest you read up now. Our friendly firemen at SCDF have this useful guide on emergency preparedness, including first aid and fire safety.


tl;dr version:

  1. To kill a fire, cool it (e.g. with water hose, bucket), smother it (e.g. with sand, wet blanket) or STARVE it (remove whatever is fueling it).
  2. If fire is out of control, leave immediately and do not use the lift. Avoid closed doors that are hot, as a fire may be behind it.
  3. Take shallow breaths and try to crawl / stay close to the floor. Cover mouth/nose with wet cloth if available.

For those who are don’t know how to use a fire extinguisher, here you go.