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SCDF: Officer dies in battling ship fire a captain excels in fitness, proficiency tests

Singapore Civil Defence Force confirmed that the firefighter who died while fighting a fire on board a marine vessel on Thursday was CPT Kenneth Tay Xue Qin. SCDF said CPT Tay was a regular officer who had achieved top scores in fitness and proficiency tests.



SINGAPORE: A Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF) firefighter who died after battling a blaze on a ship on Thursday (16 May) has been identified as CPT Kenneth Tay Xue Qin. The 30-year-old was a regular officer who had achieved top scores in fitness and proficiency tests.

In a statement on Thursday evening, SCDF expressed deep sorrow over the loss of their colleague, CPT Kenneth Tay.

“We extend our deepest condolences to his family, and are providing them with our fullest support.”

According to SCDF, CPT Tay was part of the first response crew to the fire that broke out in the engine room of a China-flagged tanker early Thursday morning.

He subsequently lost consciousness on board the ship and was taken to the hospital, where he was pronounced dead.

CPT Tay joined SCDF as a regular officer and began 28 weeks of training in the Rota Commander Course (RCC) on 26 December 2017.

He completed the course on 6 July 2018 and was posted to Changi Fire Station as a rota commander until 15 November 2020.

Following his tour of duty as a rota commander, he was posted as a Public Education Officer at the 1st SCDF Division.

“While at 1st SCDF Division, CPT Kenneth expressed a strong interest in pursuing a specialisation in marine firefighting. ”

“He successfully completed the 5-week Marine Firefighting Specialist Course (MFFSC) on 31 May 2022 and was posted to West Coast Marine Fire Station as a Marine Rota Commander on 16 January 2023, ” SCDF added.

SCDF said during RCC, CPT Kenneth attained ‘Gold’ standard for his Individual Physical Proficiency Test (IPPT), and an ‘A’ in Breathing Apparatus Proficiency Test (BAPT).

In 2022, during his Marine Firefighting Specialist Course (MFFSC), he also achieved a “Distinction” standard for his Marine Firefighting Specialist Certification Test (MFSCT).

The following year, he maintained his gold and distinction standards for his IPPT and MFSCT.

SCDF noted that all frontline firefighting vocation officers are required to take a series of proficiency and certification tests. Marine Firefighting Specialists are required to also take the MFSCT.

“In a fire or rescue emergency, Rota Commanders lead a team of frontline officers to respond to fire, rescue, and hazardous material incidents. ”

“All the training for these different roles and responsibilities are carried out centrally at the Civil Defence Academy and the Home Team Tactical Centre through various firefighting and rescue courses,” the SCDF statement wrote.

Tragic events unfold

At 12:15 a.m. on Thursday, SCDF was alerted to a fire on board a marine vessel anchored southwest of Singapore.

Firefighters from its West Coast Marine Fire Station boarded the tanker, Sheng Hang Hua 6, at about 1:15 a.m. to conduct firefighting operations.

When the firefighters arrived, they found smoke emanating from the ship’s engine room, where the fire had broken out.

During the firefighting operation, CPT Tay was in the “smoke-logged” engine room with another firefighter at about 3:30 a.m., both wearing personal protective equipment.

“While the firefighter was directing his water jet towards the source of the fire, CPT Kenneth moved around the engine room with a thermal imager to detect other hot spots,” SCDF said.

“Based on body-worn camera footage which was analysed post-incident, at about 3.53 am, CPT Kenneth appeared to encounter difficulties.”

After the firefighter noticed that CPT Tay was not responding to his calls, he searched for him in the part of the engine room where the firefighting was being conducted.

Another team of firefighters found CPT Tay lying at the bottom of a staircase at about 4:00 a.m.

The stairs led about 4 meters down to a lower platform of the engine room from the area where the firefighting was ongoing.

“CPT Kenneth was found conscious, but as he appeared unwell, evacuation was immediately initiated. ”

“CPT Kenneth subsequently lost consciousness when he was brought out from the engine room to the open deck on a stretcher,” said SCDF.

“Cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) was performed on him on the open deck, and continued to be performed on him while he was being evacuated by an SCDF fast response marine vessel to Pasir Panjang Ferry Terminal.”

An SCDF ambulance, which was on standby at the ferry terminal, received CPT Tay at about 5:28 a.m.

SCDF added that the ambulance crew continued performing CPR on him while en route to the hospital.

The ambulance arrived at the National University Hospital (NUH) at about 5:50 a.m. Unfortunately, CPT Tay was pronounced dead at the hospital.

SCDF to hold ceremonial funeral for CPT Kenneth

SCDF added: “SCDF officers, like CPT Kenneth, put their lives on the line each time they enter the scene of a fire, in order to save others.”

All the 19 crew members of the vessel were safely accounted for in the incident, said SCDF.

SCDF noted that, with the agreement of the family, they will be holding a ceremonial funeral to honour CPT Kenneth.

In December 2022, a 19-year-old full-time national serviceman (NSF) died during a firefighting operation at a Henderson Road flat.

Sergeant 1 (SGT1) Edward H Go, who was reportedly left alone to fight the fire, suffocated to death after his air cylinder was depleted.

He was the first firefighter to die in the line of duty during an SCDF operation.

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Frankly, I am not interested in the achievements CPT Tay achieved during his career. He died. We need to know how he died and find out if his death was preventable. All the accolades have no meaning as his death has caused immeasurable grief to his family. While I acknowledge an investigation will be conducted, I notice that CPT Tay was “in the “smoke-logged” engine room with another firefighter at about 3:30 a.m., both wearing personal protective equipment”. Where the other firefighters were deployed was not stated. CPT Tay was moving around to detect other hot spots in the engine… Read more »

With all due respect…
….but as tho listing his working proficiencies and talents can make his untimely death any less tragic..this pc of news is so insensitive…

And why the pictures all in Black and White?!? Burdensome some ppl cult and wanna say others.

Perhaps the 20 mins in a room filled with smoke should be lessen to 10 mins. Do we have enough staff in the SCDF? Or is the State burdening them with too much work? What is the insurance coverage for each SCDF staff? It should be at least a Million dollars as they are placing their lives at risk.

Condolences to Capt Kenneth Tay’ family.
A Singapore hero..
May you rest in peace, Sir…