Bus captain asks her passengers for permission before rushing to put out fire on lorry

Ms Thian Siew Mui with her SCDF Community Lifesaver Award.
Ms Thian Siew Mui with her SCDF Community Lifesaver Award.PHOTO: LIANHE ZAOBAO

SINGAPORE- It took bus captain Thian Siew Mui all of 20 seconds to become a "superwoman".

The 38-year-old was driving her usual SBS Transit bus route in Tuas on the morning of Sept 26, when she saw a lorry on fire driving past. After honking her horn for the lorry to stop, she grabbed an extinguisher and, after asking permission from her passengers, went to put out the fire.

"I just did what anyone else would have done," said Ms Thian, who put out the fire in around 20 seconds. Her actions were caught on video, and the clip quickly made its rounds on social media with netizens praising her.

It also caught the attention of the Singapore Road Safety Council and the Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF). Both organisations presented her with an award on Thursday (Oct 3). Colonel Anthony Toh, commander of the 4th SCDF division, said one small action from Ms Thian had prevented the fire from escalating.

Col Toh, who presented the SCDF Community Lifesaver Award to Ms Thian, added: "We hope through this simple recognition, we can encourage the public to come forward to be community first responders."

The incident stands out in the Malaysian's nine years as a bus captain, she said.

She saw that the lorry driver and one from another vehicle were having no success in putting out the fire with bottles of mineral water. "I asked the passengers if they could give me a few minutes. When they said okay, I went down immediately with the extinguisher," said Ms Thian, adding that there were about 50 passengers on board.

 

Like all bus captains, she is trained in simple firefighting techniques.

Once the fire was extinguished, she rushed back to her double-decker 247 bus as she did not want to delay her passengers any further, said Ms Thian. It was only till later that the mother of a 14 year-old son and 13-year-old daughter realised she had become an Internet sensation. Friends and colleagues called her "superwoman", she said with a laugh.