Singapore

81-year-old gets award for helping to put out Jurong flat fire

When Madam Lim Ee Chin saw black smoke billowing out from the Housing Board flat next to hers, the 81-year-old's first thought was not of her own safety but that of her neighbours.

Madam Lim filled a pail with water in her bathroom, dragged it across her living room to her gate and passed it to her frantic neighbour.

"Of course I had to help. When I saw their house burning, it hurt my heart. They didn't set the fire on purpose.

"What if they have no house to live in?" said Madam Lim, in Mandarin, when The Straits Times visited her last night.

On the night of Aug 9, Madam Lim had been watching TV in her 12th-storey flat in Block 917 Jurong West Street 91 when she saw the smoke and heard her neighbour's cry for help.

For her bravery, she received the Community First Responder Award on Aug 27, the Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF) said on Facebook yesterday.

Madam Lim is the oldest recipient of the award, which is presented to members of the public who have stepped forward to render assistance to others in distress or to save property or both.

"My other worry was whether the fire would get bigger before the firefighters came, but thankfully it didn't," she said.

Madam Lim, who has a curved spine and heart issues, could not recall how many pails she filled, but "it felt like an hour that would never end".

Her 68-year-old sister, who lives in the flat, called the SCDF.

The flames were almost out by the time SCDF personnel arrived.Said SCDF: "Despite her age, she did not hesitate to help put out the fire. Her selfless act assisted in mitigating the damage and injuries caused by the fire."

The fire involved contents of the living room, said the SCDF.

Three people were taken to Singapore General Hospital.

On the award, Madam Lim said she reluctantly accepted it as she does not view her actions as "anything special", "it's what neighbours do".

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