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Wet Weather Guardians
Rain or shine, our Home Team officers are ready to serve. On-duty and off-duty firefighters from Changi Fire Station sprang into action after seeing drivers trapped in their cars by waist-level floodwaters.

It was a wet morning for Corporal (Cpl) Muhammad Shahrukh Bin Selvaraj of the Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF), who was on sentry duty at Changi Fire Station on 8 January 2018. Singapore was experiencing a heavy downpour that resulted in flash floods, and the 21-year-old was straining his eyes to see if anything was out of the ordinary.

“I was the first to see it,” he recalled. “A BMW sedan was stuck on the filter lane close to the station, and it couldn’t get moving.”

The sedan had entered the floodwaters along Upper Changi Road and stalled. Water was seeping into the car. Cpl Muhd Shahrukh alerted his Section Commander, Staff Sergeant (SSgt) Muhammad Asri Amid Hamid, about the driver’s plight.

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Scenes from the morning of 8 January 2018. PHOTO: SCDF

Cpl Muhd Shahrukh and his fellow firefighters sprang into action. But conditions were challenging, to say the least. “We tried to push the car but it wouldn’t budge,” he said. “It was already submerged at waist level.”

So they did the next best thing – evacuate the trapped driver to safety. “I asked my Rota Commander for permission for the driver to take shelter in the station, and he did so until the tow trucks arrived,” said SSgt Muhd Asri.

8 Jan Changi Fire Station Flood with Media
SSgt Muhd Asri (second from right) pointing to the location where the first vehicle stalled, accompanied by Cpt Ivan Ng (middle) and Cpl Muhd Shahrukh (right).PHOTO: Desmond Ang

That morning, Singapore experienced “intense” rain, with the heaviest rainfall of 118.8mm recorded at PUB’s Kim Chuan Road rain-gauge (this represents about half of Singapore’s average monthly rainfall in January). Back in Changi, seeing that the water had continued to rise, Rota Commander Captain (Cpt) Ivan Ng took action. “The moment we saw other drivers being trapped, I called the on-duty officers,” said the 31-year-old.

The water gave us some resistance, but we needed to get those trapped to safety. We’re firemen after all; we ‘play’ with water all the time.”

Even though they had just completed a 24-hour shift, 15 off-duty firefighters volunteered to help as well. “The off-duty guys took the initiative to help out, even though they were

Even though they had just completed a 24-hour shift, 15 off-duty firefighters volunteered to help as well. “The off-duty guys took the initiative to help out, even though they were supposed to be on their way home,” said Cpt Ivan.

In all, 30 on and off-duty firefighters – comprising regulars, Full-Time National Servicemen and Operationally-Ready National Servicemen – helped out that morning. Some took on the role of road marshals to divert traffic from heavily-flooded roads while others pushed stalled vehicles away from the waters and assisted drivers to dry land.

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Firefighters from Changi Fire Station who were on duty and responded to the morning's flood. PHOTO: Desmond Ang

“It happened very fast but our men were not haphazardly deployed,” recalled Cpt Ivan. “We made sure that people were put at the correct junctions and assigned the right tasks.”

And the downpour did little to dampen the spirit of the firefighters. “We were able to see reasonably well, despite the heavy rain,” said Cpt Ivan. “There were no injuries to the drivers; we brought them to the station and none were hurt. They thanked us, but we told them that we were just doing our jobs.”

That morning, the team aided seven drivers and cleared six sedans and one lorry. “It took six firefighters to push that lorry, and we managed to push-start it after getting to dryer ground,” said Cpt Ivan. “The water gave us some resistance, but we needed to get those trapped to safety. We’re firemen after all; we ‘play’ with water all the time. And after rescuing the drivers, the off-duty guys went for breakfast.”

Home Team News
A bit of sun after a long, wet morning of service.PHOTO: Desmond Ang

© 2019 Ministry of Home Affairs, Singapore. All Rights Reserved.


  1. by Desmond Ang
  2. 11 January 2018
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