Last Thursday (8 December), a 19-year-old full-time National Serviceman (NSF) passed away in a fire-fighting incident on Henderson Road.
On 9 December, a ceremonial funeral was held for Corporal Edward H. Go, the first firefighter to have died during an operation.
Here’s what happened.
Investigations Have Begun
At the wake, Minister of State for Home Affairs Muhammad Faishal Ibrahim announced that a probe into the incident has begun, and findings will be made public in due time.
The investigation will look into the people involved in the incident, among other things, he said.
“We are currently carrying out investigations – we have started to look at the site of the incident and also the people involved. We will inform the family and the public once it has been completed.”
Following up, he issued a statement on Facebook offering his condolences.
Explaining why an NSF was deployed, he said: “Full-time National Servicemen (NSFs) and Operationally Ready National Servicemen play a critical role, together with regular officers, to safeguard Singapore so that all of us can live, work, and play safely and securely.”
Ending the message with appreciation, he wrote: “SCDF has lost one of its finest firefighters. CPL Edward H Go will be remembered for his bravery, courage, and service to the nation.”
Wake Attended by Foreign Minister Vivian Balakrishnan
Aside from Cpl Go’s family and friends, foreign minister Vivian Balakrishnan, together with his wife, attended the wake as well.
Apparently, Dr Balakrishnan knew the parents of the deceased.
“I think everyone is shocked… incredibly saddened,” the minister said.
Dr Balakrishnan also expressed that such an occurrence is an absolute nightmare for any parent and that it could have been anyone’s son paying such a sacrifice while serving the nation.
At the wake, a slideshow with images of the firefighter was played as visitors streamed in to offer their condolences.
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About the Incident
The NSF firefighter lost his life during an operation last Thursday, fighting a fire in a rental flat at Block 91 Henderson Road.
The Henderson blaze, as many Singaporeans have now come to term the tragedy, was likely of electrical origins in the flat’s bedroom.
The SCDF was alerted to the fire on Thursday morning, and Cpl Go was part of the first response team. After forcing their way into the smoke-logged flat, Cpl Go fell unconscious in the kitchen area while putting out the fire.
The rest of the firefighters took him out of the flat and attempted to resuscitate him but to no avail.
Cpl Go was then taken to the Singapore General Hospital, where he subsequently passed away.
About the Victim
CPL Go enlisted for less than a year, beginning his National Service (NS) journey with the SCDF on 5 January this year.
After 12 weeks of firefighter training that started on 3 February, he completed his training on 28 April.
He was then posted to Central Fire Station on 4 May after his course to serve as a firefighter.
In the statement, SCDF also noted that CPL Go had been a part of over 20 fire and rescue incidents since finishing his firefighter course.
Apart from that, SCDF also revealed that CPL Go was medically fit and belonged to the Physical Employment Standards (PES) A category, the highest standard, based on the medical checkups that he went through.
Based on the Central Manpower Base’s website, those certified as PES A and B1 can serve in frontline operational vocations.
“SCDF frontline units comprise regulars, NSFs and Operationally Ready National Servicemen (ORNSmen), all of whom are trained to carry out roles as rota commanders, section commanders or firefighters.
“In a fire or rescue emergency, officers of these vocations form a composite crew to respond to the incident,” SCDF added.
“SCDF officers, like Corporal Edward, put their lives on the line each time they enter the scene of a fire in order to save others,” the statement highlighted.
SCDF also explained that those carrying out these roles and responsibilities undergo multiple training courses for their firefighting and rescue missions at the Civil Defence Academy.
On the intellectual front, he was a “bright kid”, as announced by his family and friends at the wake.
One of those who did so was Mr Shihan Ahnaf Shoeb, CPL Go’s trainer in the SCDF during his Basic Rescue Training.
He recalled how CPL Go started as very quiet and physically faced difficulties during the early days of his training but was able to warm up more and improve his physical standards throughout his training course.
He also said that CPL Go was always smiling and that he was a brilliant person with a bright future based on their conversations.
It was also revealed that CPL Go had plans to enrol in medical school after his NS journey.
It is truly a saddening incident and we offer our condolences to the involved parties.
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