Singapore

Fireman caught in taxi blast recovering from burns

Full-time NSman back home after treatment

When netizens watched video clips of an exploding Trans-Cab taxi last Sunday, they thought a firefighter who had been enveloped by the flames had died.

Not only did Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF) full-time national serviceman Eka Putra survive, he told The New Paper he is recovering fast and is now at home.

Even Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong has wished him well, praising him and his colleagues for constantly putting themselves in harm's way to protect Singaporeans.

The taxi and a car had been involved in an accident on Commonwealth Avenue, near Buona Vista MRT station, on Sunday at about 2.15pm. The taxi then caught fire.

In video clips posted online, Mr Putra and a colleague are seen approaching the burning taxi.

Mr Putra had a compressed air foam backpack to put out the blaze. Seconds after they approach the burning vehicle, the taxi explodes, with the flames enveloping Mr Putra.

Miraculously, the fireman from Clementi Fire Station walks away from the scene and is later taken to the National University Hospital (NUH) along with three other casualties.

The SCDF said on its Facebook page he was discharged from NUH on Sunday evening, hours after the incident.

Mr Putra said he had sustained first degree burns on his face and neck.

After the incident, Mr Putra tweeted in Malay: "Thank you God cause u protected me."

He later said on Twitter he had been given seven days' medical leave.

An avid motorcyclist, he called his station mates his second family and uploaded several pictures of them onto his Facebook page.

On Monday, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong called Mr Putra and his colleague brave for running towards danger to save lives and help others.

Mr Lee added: "Good to learn that the firefighter caught in the blast is ok. He only suffered minor burns, and has been discharged.

"Hope he and the others injured recover soon. The Home Team works hard to protect Singapore and Singaporeans."

Many netizens expressed their relief that Mr Putra had sustained only minor injuries.

Facebook user Grace Ng thanked SCDF and police officers for their work.

She said: "So glad to hear you are safe.

"This is a reminder to me how much the fire fighters and police are doing (for Singapore)." - ADDITIONAL REPORTING BY AFIQ ROSLAN

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