Wednesday, 12 December 2012

1961 Tragedy of Bukit Ho Swee Fire

Walking down a memory lane along Bukit Ho Swee
A memory keeps alive when you walk down on memory lanes along the rows of atap houses in Bukit Ho Swee estates where no one knows there are the 'scars' of fire incidents at Bukit Ho Swee in 1961 where the new buildings/HDBs were developed in the years along the fire sites where the 'BIG' fire explosion in the dead afternoon at 3.20pm on 25th May 1961.
James Seah giving a speech at Woodlands Regional Library
A friend of mine, James Seah (blogtoexpress) who was giving a speech about his personal experience on Bukit Ho Swee Fire at Woodlands Regional Library on 9th Dec 2012 at 2.00pm.
His telltales experience of how his mother and himself escaped from the fire thru the times of crisis. James Seah's blog Personal Encounter.
During the talks, there is also an exhibition on the 3rd level which is on displayed till 28th Dec 2012.
I recall from my hubby who told me about the Bukit Ho Swee fire near his home of Blk 22 Havelock Road where the ferocious fire broke out along the streets.
Before the ferocious fire at Bukit Ho Swee
There was also a 'huge' fire at Robinson Department store at Raffles Place where my mother-in-law worked at Robinson restaurant for many years till the fate of 1972 when the fire broke out in the morning. There was a chaos at the Dept store where many people came running out of the building. Her boss (Robinson Restaurant) whose wife (Chief Cook) Mdm Yuen trapped in the lift with 7 other victims and died. My hubby recalled of his mother came running home in the morning and shouted 'Fire' at Robinson Department store where she worked and told of her experience encounter at the Robinson Department store of her colleagues who perished in the fire.
A lesson is learned when the inexperienced firemen were not trained enough in time of fire since 1961.
                                A set of Uniform worn by member of Singapore Fire Brigade during the Bukit Ho Swee Fire in 1961
Fire Fighting Equipment used by former Singapore Fire Brigade to combat the Bukit Ho Swee Fire
A Hamlet worn by Singapore Fire Brigade
 The scene of the ferocious fire as below: Courtesy of the National Archives of Singapore

I would like to thank James Seah on his speech on his personal experience at Woodlands Regional Library and posted his blog to give fire awareness of the 'Bad master' instead of 'Good servant'.
Third from left James Seah and his friends


  1. Thank you for the courtesy of posting your blog and the chance to meet you. Many friends who were added on Facebook will only remain as "virtual" friends forever, here and overseas. I am glad to get to know you in person. Very nice.

    NHB's public talk on "Bukit Ho Swee Fire" wasn't a speech for me. It was a sharing session to reminisce my childhood memories and experiences. It's a grandfather stories, a lifetime lesson which is worthwhile to remind my children about the importance of fire safety and prevention.

    I did not have any "scars" from the BHS fire, physically or psychologically after the escapade of my mother and I.

    It was to me a personal experience and an encounter. A "blessing in disguise" to meet with good affinity of many kind and generous people to help us as a community. My family and I went through an ordeal which my mother said was due to "天意" (the design and intention of God". At that time, we had no money, no home, no school to attend.

    A former blog "Page from past Robinson fire"
    here .

  2. Thanks James.
    This had been a challenging for people like us to overcome such a crisis in time of needs when there's a huge of fire engulfed wooden attap houses, buildings and forests. Proper safety and fire drills could be met on how to prevent it.