Marsiling miracle - how officers on patrol saved two young children from a raging fire.
By: Domnic Dass
What started as a regular night shift duty turned into an unforgettable evening for two officers from Woodlands West Neighbourhood Police Centre (NPC), Sergeant (Sgt) Nur Fadilah and Special Constable (SC) Franco Kam. Learn how they saved two toddlers from a fire!
An Urgent Despatch
Sgt Fadilah is an SPF officer with 13 years of experience. SC Franco is a Full-time Police National Service officer who joined Woodlands West NPC in April 2022.
On 22 June 2022, they were deployed for their night shift duty. At around 10pm, their portable radio sets crackled: “Case of fire reported at Block 218 Marsiling Crescent. To proceed for urgent despatch, over.”
“Roger! Proceeding to 218 Marsiling Crescent now, over,” replied Sgt Fadilah.
Both officers rushed to Block 218 in their Next-Generation Fast Response Car (NGFRC) and arrived within minutes.
Fire Burns Brighter in the Darkness
As they entered the carpark, they could see a crowd of about 20 residents waving at them. Above them, they could see raging flames escaping through the back of a unit. The crowd swarmed around the NGFRC, frantically pointing at the second floor.
“I could see thick black smoke pouring out from the unit’s kitchen window,” shared SC Franco.
The officers looked around the carpark. They realised they were the first at the scene, and that firefighters hadn’t arrived yet. “We knew the fire was big,” said Sgt Fadilah, “and we were deliberating on our next course of actions following a more thorough appreciation of situation at the location.”
It was then they heard it: “There are people trapped inside the unit! Faster, go!”
Without hesitation, Sgt Fadilah instructed her fellow officer: “Franco! Grab the fire extinguisher from the boot now! Let’s go!”
“I was touched by how everyone looked out for one another.” - Sgt Fadilah
An Unexpected Discovery
Together, they ran up the stairs with the extinguisher but uncertain about what they’d face.
Along the corridor of the unit on fire, they found thick acrid smoke surrounding them. The heat wrapped around their skin tightly – the smoke, even tighter.
SC Franco saw black smoke escaping through the gaps of the living room’s windowpanes from the blazing unit. “We started knocking on the door,” he said. “I then realised that the gate was unlocked and the door was ajar, so we went in immediately.”
Dense, black smoke pressed against the officers as they opened the door. Their eyes stung and their lungs choked. Cupping their mouths, the officers shone their police-issue flashlights through the near-zero visibility smoke.
Then something caught their eyes. A hint of exposed skin, illuminating brightly by their shining lights in the smoke. “Wait, is that a person? Is that a child?” they wondered.
A young boy clad only in diapers stood in the smoke, looking towards their light, with the raging fire behind him.
Out of the Fire
Without a second thought, Sgt Fadilah, a mother of two young kids, rushed through the smoke and heat to grab the young boy and carry him out. At the same time, SC Franco scanned the room again. It was then that he spotted another boy curled up on the sofa.
The toddler was silent. Fearing the worst, SC Franco rushed towards the sofa and cradled the boy in his arms, then checked the unit fully once more before running out.
Thankfully, the young boy started crying once he was carried downstairs. In less than five minutes, both toddlers were rescued from the unit.
Downstairs, two off-duty nurses, who were living nearby, helped with checking on the boys. Residents also brought drinks for them. A short while later, the firefighters arrived and tried to douse the fire. Paramedics responding to the incident also attended to the toddlers to ensure that they were well.
A Community Effort
But there was more to be done. Several residents, together with Sgt Fadilah and SC Franco, went up the block again to help evacuate other occupants near the unit. Very soon, other Police officers came to assist with evacuating residents from the whole block. By now, a crowd of more than 50 people had gathered. The area was also cordoned off and managed by officers and firefighters.
“I was touched by how everyone looked out for one another,” shared Sgt Fadilah. “As a Police officer and a mother, this had to be one of the most unforgettable incidents that I’ve attended to.”
SC Franco stated that the incident had reaffirmed his belief that Police officers safeguard our community, including the most vulnerable among us. “Policing isn’t just about maintaining law and order, it’s also about protecting and saving lives.”