Saturday, 2 May 2015 -
Retiree, Haji Ahmad bin Haji Rawee, 69, was a former firefighter from the Singapore Fire Service. During his service, he served at the Alexandra Fire Station from 1968 to 1986.
Mr Haji shared that as the fire hoses of the past were made of canvas, there was a need to hang them to dry after every use. The traditional practice was for the firefighters to hang the wet hoses at the hose tower to dry. The hose tower was also used as a radio communication point as well as a look-out-post for them to visually locate any fire incident sites.
He said, “My favourite spot at the Alexandra Fire Station was a small pantry where all of us would gather for lunch every day. It was a place where all the firefighters came together to bond as well as polish our boots. During my time, we were very particular with ensuring that we look smart in our uniforms. We take a lot of pride in it.”
Apart from having pioneer officers who once served at the Alexandra Fire Station share their memories and lifesaving experiences, the carnival was organised to celebrate the fire station’s rich history and heritage also included a photograph exhibition and nostalgic fire engine displays.
Organised by the Singapore Civil Defence Force and civic group My Community, the carnival was opened to the public from 9am to 3pm on Saturday, 2 May 2015 at Alexandra Fire Station.
About Alexandra Fire Station
Alexandra Fire Station is Singapore’s third fire station and it was officially opened on 25 February 1954 by then Governor of Singapore, Sir John Nicoll, to serve a rapidly expanding industrial area in Alexandra and train future firefighters for the then Singapore Fire Brigade. The fire station replaced the colonial Auxiliary Fire Brigade, which had 15 officers and 60 firefighters, stationed at the nearby Archipelago Brewery Company.
Then, the fire station comprised of only four fire engines and one ambulance; repair workshops to replace the ageing facilities at Hill Street Fire Station; staff quarters for one officer-in-charge, two senior officers, 12 sub-officers, 50 married firefighters and 24 single firefighters; an 164 feet hose tower used for hose drying, radio communication and as a look-out post to locate fires; a 20-foot deep well for testing the lifting powers of engine pumps; and recreational facilities for both firefighters and their families. The curved frontage of the station was also specifically designed to give an easy turnout to engines rushing out to answer fire calls.
Firefighters from the fire station had taken part in numerous fire and rescue operations. This includes the Bukit Ho Swee fire that occurred in May 1961 and the explosions at the Diethelm Aluminum Factory along Alexandra Road in April 1972.
In 2002, Alexandra Fire Station relocated to a temporary site at Tanglin Halt to facilitate the construction of a complex to house both the Singapore Civil Defence Force and the Singapore Police Force. In 2005, it returned to its present site at Queensway, where it is currently home to the headquarters for the 1st Singapore Civil Defence Division.