Praise worthy Act

Fire-fighting taxi drivers

Taxi drivers Lim Teck Chuan (left) and Mazlan Mahan risked their lives to help a woman whose car caught fire after it had stopped on the Tampines Expressway last month. The driver apparently had no idea that flames were escaping from the car's bonnet
Taxi drivers Lim Teck Chuan (left) and Mazlan Mahan risked their lives to help a woman whose car caught fire after it had stopped on the Tampines Expressway last month. The driver apparently had no idea that flames were escaping from the car's bonnet, and it took a coordinated effort from the two cabbies to put out the fire from the resulting explosion.PHOTO: COMFORTDELGRO

Awards for two alert cabbies who stopped to help driver whose car had caught fire

While driving on the Tampines Expressway around midnight one day last month, cabby Mazlan Mahan saw a white Mitsubishi sedan pulled over on the road shoulder.

He thought nothing of it until he drove closer and saw flames coming out of the car's bonnet.

Despite protests from his two passengers, who did not want to incur a higher fare for the wait, Mr Mazlan stopped his taxi at the side of a road shoulder near the Elias Road exit of the expressway.

"My first concern was to save the driver, and prevent the fire from harming others," said Mr Mazlan, 47, who has been a ComfortDelGro taxi driver for more than 10 years.

As he approached the car, he noticed that its driver was unloading books from the boot and appeared to be unaware of the fire.

He shouted to let her know about the fire and then grabbed a fire extinguisher from the boot of his taxi.

Mr Mazlan, a former policeman with some training in fire-fighting, quickly realised that the fire which he was unable to put out could lead to an explosion.

ALERT

As I drove past, I saw that there were flames coming out of the undercarriage of the car. The driver appeared totally unaware as she was on the phone.

CITYCAB DRIVER LIM TECK CHUAN

SINCERE

They told me it's the first time they've witnessed someone so kind and helpful, but I sincerely didn't expect any praise.

CABBY MAZLAN MAHAN, on his passengers who were initially upset about incurring a higher fare because of the wait. Mr Mazlan later waived their fare

He pulled the driver and his passengers to the side of the road about 50m away behind the car.

A few minutes later, there was a small explosion, accompanied by smoke and a loud bang.

Meanwhile, CityCab driver Lim Teck Chuan, who was on the same expressway and heading towards Changi Airport, made a detour to lend a helping hand.

Mr Lim, who has been driving a taxi for four years, said: "As I drove past, I saw that there were flames coming out of the undercarriage of the car. The driver appeared totally unaware as she was on the phone. I feared for her safety and decided to turn back."

A Singapore Civil Defence Force fire engine arrived eight minutes later but by then, the two cabbies had managed to put out the fire with Mr Lim's extinguisher.

The driver, a 50-year-old business consultant who wanted to be known as Madam Ong, declined to speak to The Straits Times.

However, she sent a thank you note the next day through ComfortDelGro, which runs CityCab and Comfort taxis.

"My family and I are deeply grateful to cabbies Mazlan and Lim for what they had done.

"They are testament that there are still many good cabbies out there who are kind enough to help complete strangers," she wrote.

The taxi operators will be awarding both cabbies with a certificate of appreciation and $100 in cash each for their brave act.

"I didn't expect to be commended at all," said Mr Lim.

"I'm just glad Madam Ong is safe and sound, and that it didn't worsen into a big fire."

Mr Mazlan's passengers, who were initially upset about the wait, later praised him for his civic- mindedness.

He had also waived their fare. "They told me that it's the first time they've witnessed someone so kind and helpful, but I sincerely didn't expect any praise," said Mr Mazlan.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 30, 2015, with the headline 'Fire-fighting taxi drivers'. Print Edition | Subscribe