Soccer coach saves 4 from Choa Chu Kang fire

Mr Faizaltulamri Noorali with Ms Hasnah Shasdan, whom he helped evacuate from the fire. Among the others he took to safety was a 76-year-old woman who uses a wheelchair; he carried her down 11 flights of stairs. -- ST PHOTO: NG SOR LUAN
Mr Faizaltulamri Noorali with Ms Hasnah Shasdan, whom he helped evacuate from the fire. Among the others he took to safety was a 76-year-old woman who uses a wheelchair; he carried her down 11 flights of stairs. -- ST PHOTO: NG SOR LUAN

He also ran up and down the stairs to warn others

Mr Faizaltulamri Noorali has emerged as a local hero after a fire broke out in a unit of his Housing Board block in Choa Chu Kang Avenue 2 yesterday morning.

The full-time soccer coach took four people to safety, including a 76-year-old woman, a wheelchair user, whom he carried down 11 flights of stairs. He also went to the aid of another neighbour too shaken to help herself out of her flat as the fire in an eighth-floor unit burned.

Despite billowing black smoke, he went up and down many flights of stairs to inform his neighbours of the fire.

The Singapore Civil Defence Force received a call about the fire at about 8am. No one was injured, a spokesman added.

Mr Faizaltulamri, 33, first ensured members of his family, who live on the 12th floor, were safe.

"When I heard from my mother that there was a fire, I told her to take my (niece and nephew) downstairs before I rushed down to check on the fire... There was thick black smoke all over the place and it was very chaotic."

He then helped housewife Hasnah Shasdan, 63, who was home alone when the fire broke out. He was prompted by his mother to go to the 14th floor where she lived as she was known to have a heart condition and breathing difficulties.

He wrapped her face with a wet towel before supporting her down the stairs.

When asked about what happened yesterday, Ms Hasnah said: "I heard a window smash and smelled smoke but I thought it was just renovation... If he didn't come (to tell me about the fire), I don't know what would have happened. My door and windows were all closed."

When The Straits Times yesterday visited the eighth-floor unit which caught fire, its owners were moving to another flat.

A woman helping the owners said no one was at home when the fire broke out. It is understood that four people live there, although the owners declined to comment.

For Mrs Jessica Lee, 40, who was not at home at the time of the fire, Mr Faizaltulamri was a godsend. He helped to carry her 76-year-old mother, a wheelchair user, down 11 flights of stairs.

The computer-aid designer told her maid to take her elderly mother to safety after she had received a call from her about the fire.

"I think my maid was very shaken and she was thinking, 'How could I possibly carry her down 11 flights of stairs?'". said Mrs Lee. "I'm so thankful for the man who helped her."

Mr Faizaltulamri said his act of bravery was inspired by his mother. He lives with his parents, his elder sister and her two children.

"She taught me from young that when I want to help people, I must do it unconditionally without expecting anything in return. She's the world's best teacher."

kcarolyn@sph.com.sg