76-year-old retiree gets SCDF award for putting out fire in Bedok North flat

Mr Goh Min Juan, 76, ran up and down this flight of stairs with buckets of water to put out a fire outside his neighbour's corridor on Sept 8. He received an award on Sept 17, 2015.
Mr Goh Min Juan, 76, ran up and down this flight of stairs with buckets of water to put out a fire outside his neighbour's corridor on Sept 8. He received an award on Sept 17, 2015. PHOTO: FACEBOOK/SINGAPORE CIVIL DEFENCE FORCE

SINGAPORE - Retiree Goh Min Juan, 76, received an award from the Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF) on Thursday morning (Sept 17) for putting out a fire on the 14th floor in his block on Sept 8.

Mr Goh received the SCDF Public Spiritedness Award for his act of bravery from Lieutenant-Colonel Wesley Ho, SCDF announced in a Facebook post on Thursday afternoon.

The post had been shared more than 140 times by the evening.

Mr Goh told The Straits Times that he heard "pom, pom" - the sound of something dropping - from the 14th floor on the afternoon of Sept 8.

He lives in a unit on the 13th floor at Block 78, Bedok North Road.

He went up to take a look and saw a fire in the corridor encroaching on the front door of his neighbour's house. There was a lot of smoke coming from the fire, he said.

The fire, which happened at around 4.30pm, enveloped a planter box and some bicycles, SCDF said.

Mr Goh immediately rushed home to get water using a bucket, and poured it on the fire, but it continued raging. He also knocked on the neighbour's door but no one answered.

He asked his wife to continue filling buckets with water, while he went up and down the stairs with the filled buckets to continue fighting the fire.

Meanwhile, he asked a boy who was passing by to dial 995 using his mobile phone, and to report the fire to the SCDF. The boy also called the East Coast Town Council, Mr Goh said.

The fire was put out before the SCDF arrived. It turned out that a 15-year-old boy was trapped in the flat. His neighbours later came to thank him, Mr Goh said.

In the Facebook post, Mr Goh said: "Thirty years ago, I was trained in civil defence skills and today, I am glad that I am able to apply it to save a life and property."

When Mr Goh moved to Bedok North in the 1970s, the former rehabilitation officer for the Singapore Prison Service joined the civil defence coordinating committee in his community.

The group of more than 100 volunteers received emergency and first aid training, Mr Goh said.

The hale and hearty retiree told The Straits Times that these days, he cycles daily and exercises regularly.