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SCDF honours fallen firefighter CPT Kenneth Tay in observance ceremony

The Singapore Civil Defence Force held an observance ceremony on Monday morning to honour Captain Kenneth Tay, a 30-year-old officer who died while fighting a ship fire on 16 May. Around 200 SCDF personnel gathered for a minute’s silence, and alarms rang across all SCDF stations and headquarters in tribute to his dedication and service.



SINGAPORE: Captain Kenneth Tay, a 30-year-old regular officer of the Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF), was honoured at an observance ceremony on Monday (20 May), following his death while fighting a ship fire last Thursday.

At the ceremony held at SCDF’s Ubi headquarters, SCDF Commissioner Eric Yap paid tribute to CPT Tay, commending him for his selflessness, professionalism, and commitment.

“This last fire call for Captain Kenneth remembers his dedication to duty from his years of service with the SCDF.”

“In our one minute of silence, we honour his memory and give our highest respect to our fallen comrade.”

Around 200 SCDF personnel gathered at SCDF’s headquarters to observe a minute’s silence in remembrance of the late CPT Kenneth Tay.

An alarm rang at 7:10 a.m. across all 23 SCDF fire stations, the SCDF headquarters in Ubi, the headquarters of all five divisions, and the Civil Defence Academy to honor him.

Commissioner Yap highlighted that CPT Tay was also a para-counsellor and career advocate within the SCDF.

“This speaks volumes of his belief, passion, conviction and ambition of the life-saving force.”

Commissioner Yap added that the public relies on the SCDF and its officers like CPT Tay for assistance in emergencies, which can be a matter of life and death.

CPT Tay will be accorded ceremonial honours later on Monday morning.

SCDF: CPT Kenneth Tay excelled in fitness and proficiency tests

At 12:15 a.m. on 16 May, SCDF was alerted to a fire on board the tanker. Firefighters rushed from West Coast Marine Fire Station to tackle the fire incident at about 1.15 am.

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

While one firefighter aimed his water jet at the fire source, CPT Kenneth scanned for hot spots with a thermal imager. Post-incident analysis of body-worn camera footage revealed CPT Kenneth’s distress around 3:53 a.m.

After CPT Tay failed to respond, a firefighter searched for him. Another team found him unconscious at 4:00 a.m.

SCDF noted that CPT Kenneth was conscious but unwell, prompting the immediate evacuation.

However, he lost consciousness while being transported to the open deck on a stretcher.

CPR was administered on the deck and throughout the evacuation to Pasir Panjang Ferry Terminal via an SCDF vessel.

Upon arrival at the terminal, an ambulance received CPT Tay at 5:28 a.m., with CPR efforts continuing en route to the National University Hospital. Tragically, he was pronounced dead at the hospital.

According to the SCDF, CPT Kenneth Tay joined SCDF as a regular officer in December 2017, completing training in the Rota Commander Course (RCC) and serving as a rota commander until November 2020.

He then became a Public Education Officer. Expressing interest in marine firefighting, he completed the Marine Firefighting Specialist Course in May 2022 and was posted as a Marine Rota Commander in January 2023.

Throughout his training, he excelled, achieving top scores in fitness and proficiency tests.

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).

SCDF emphasized the crucial role of Rota Commanders in emergency response, highlighting the rigorous training all frontline officers undergo at the Civil Defence Academy and Home Team Tactical Centre.

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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