SINGAPORE - An off-duty Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF) officer played a key role in rescuing a 20-month-old boy who had accidentally locked himself in a lorry last Sunday (July 10).
The incident, which took place in an open carpark at Block 302A Woodlands Street 31, was highlighted by the son of Senior Warrant Officer (SWO) Hasanuddin Johar in a Facebook post.
The post has been shared close to 1,000 times since it was put up on Sunday afternoon.
SWO Hasanuddin's son, 27-year-old PhD student Muhammad Noor Affiq, shared that he was at his sister's house with their parents when they witnessed a commotion at the carpark.
Having thought nothing of it initially, he said the crowd grew significantly about 10 minutes later and they found out that a child had accidentally locked himself in a lorry.
"My dad, being a fire officer, went over to provide assistance. He didn't jump in straight away," wrote Mr Affiq.
"Rather, he observed from far to assess the situation before coming up with the best solution to tackle the problem without causing too much physical damage to the lorry."
SWO Hasanuddin, 52, was soon up on top of the lorry's cab section, armed with "metal bars and other things" to pry the door open, he added.
"With teamwork and effective communication, the young boy was finally freed and returned back to his parents. My dad, the hero."
An eyewitness at the scene said that the entire rescue took about 15 minutes.
Speaking to The Straits Times on Monday, a humble SWO Hasanuddin downplayed his contribution and said the rescue would not have been possible without the efforts of the boy's family members and several members of the public.
Singling out a Chinese man who had helped him with prying open the door, the regimental sergeant major with the 4th SCDF Division said: "It was heartening to see so many people of different races pitching in to help."
SWO Hasanuddin revealed that he decided against breaking the lorry's window as the glass would have risked injuring the boy within the small confines of the lorry cab. Even though the boy was crying, the air-conditioning in the lorry was on and his family did their best from outside to placate him with YouTube videos.
"I understand this was an accident. The boy had dropped something outside the lorry and his parents had alighted to retrieve it," he added.
SWO Hasanuddin, who has been with the SCDF for 34 years, was also lauded by SCDF in a Facebook post after the incident.
"As the saying goes, a true firefighter is never off-duty...A classic example of #CommunityFirstResponders in our midst - keeping a watchful eye on the safety of others wherever they may be," the post said.
"We need more #CommunityFirstResponders like Encik Hasan!"