- POSTED: 12 Dec 2013 23:14
- UPDATED: 19 Feb 2014 18:34
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Deputy Prime Minister Teo Chee Hean on Thursday thanked the over 60 paramedics and firefighters who provided medical assistance and evacuation, and put out the fires during the riot at Little India on Sunday.
SINGAPORE: Deputy Prime Minister Teo Chee Hean on Thursday thanked the over 60 paramedics and firefighters who provided medical assistance and evacuation, and put out the fires during the riot at Little India on Sunday.
On Thursday afternoon, Mr Teo and MP Vikram Nair, who is a member of the Government Parliamentary Committee for Home Affairs and Law, met officers from the Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF) who responded to the riot.
The visit took place at the Marina Bay Fire Station.
Twelve SCDF personnel, including two female officers were injured when the unruly mob attacked them as they were carrying out their duties.
All officers have since recovered from their injuries.
During the visit, Mr Teo commended the SCDF officers.
He said: "Your mission is to help others and save lives. Even in a very challenging situation, you carried out your duty because you knew that there were people who needed help. You have shown a strong sense of duty and purpose, and dedication to your mission."
Mr Teo also posted some of the exchanges he had with the SCDF officers during the meeting on his Facebook page.
Quoting them, he wrote that the officers told him it was not unusual for paramedics to attract a crowd while carrying out their work in Little India, due to curiosity.
But the crowd became “unruly and hostile” on the night of the riot.
As the officers were trying to extricate the person trapped under the bus, they were hit by objects which were being pelted at them. They also suffered cuts from the glass shards on the ground.
Police from Marina Bay and Rochor Neighborhood Police Centres who had also arrived, then helped to shield them as they continued their work to jack up the bus and free the trapped person.
The police also escorted the bus driver and the female time-keeper who were trapped in the bus to one of the ambulances, as the situation became more intense.
They managed to evacuate the deceased, as well as the bus driver and his time-keeper.
More police cars, ambulances and fire-fighting vehicles arrived at the scene, but they were pelted with items as well.
"The windscreen of our (paramedic Nor Aisyah's) ambulance was damaged when we arrived on the scene. We took cover in the back of the ambulance. We could see the police car in front of us burning, and were worried that the flames would reach our ambulance.
“Just as we were about to leave our ambulance for safety, some foreign workers told us to leave quickly as our ambulance might be set on fire.
"Even though it was a hot situation, some of the paramedics got out of their ambulances and proceeded on foot towards the scene of the incident,” according to the officers.
They then treated those who were injured, including fellow Home Team officers who continued to do their duty.
SCDF was able to evacuate all the injured and put out the fires when the unruly crowd was dispersed by the police.
Mr Teo also said he met Nor Aisyah, a paramedic whose ambulance was damaged during the riot.
He said: "Nor Aisyah's ambulance was totally burnt. She received some minor injuries.
“She was inspired by her dad, who is an SCDF firefighter, to become a paramedic. She returns to duty today, "so that I can help save people". I asked her to tell her dad that he had raised a good daughter."