SINGAPORE – Retiree Lim Ee Chin had just watched the National Day parade on television when she spotted that her neighbour’s flat was on fire at about 11.20pm and instinctively knew she had to do something to help.
Madam Lim, 81, braved billowing smoke to fill buckets of water in her bathroom and drag them across the living room floor to her front gate so her neighbour could douse the flames raging in the Block 917 Jurong West Street 91 flat.
Her willingness to help a neighbour in serious trouble came despite having a curved spine and heart trouble and the pleas from her sister whom she lives with to leave for her safety.
“Of course I had to help. When I saw their house burning, it hurt my heart,” said Madam Lim, who used to work at a tin factory.
“They didn’t set the fire on purpose. What if they have no house to live in?”
She added that she could not recall how many pails of water she fetched that night on Aug 9, but “it felt like an hour that would never end”.
With the help of other neighbours, most of the fire was put out before the Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF) arrived.
After they left, Madam Lim spent the next few hours mopping up her flat.
Her selfless efforts made her the oldest recipient of the SCDF Community First Responder Award, which was conferred on Aug 27.
The award is given to members of the public who lend a hand to those in trouble.
Madam Lim does not see her actions as “anything special”.
“It’s just what neighbours do for each other, there’s no need to make a big fuss over it.”
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