Now, back to my journey around Singapore, shall we? It has been a year and this series was not even fully reported… Right, here we go!
I noticed this building from quite some time ago. I have always thought it was a working fire station whereby the building just happened to be old until when I passed by this place to realize it was more than just a fire station. And since I went on a wrong timing, I missed the weekend visit programme, obviously.
The Central Fire Station was gazetted as national monument on 18 December 1998, standing as the oldest fire station which is still working in Singapore.
This is the main gate which is still working. I know because I peeked into one of the ajar gate and I saw people maintaining the engine.
Right at the side of the Central Fire Station, it is the Civil Defence Heritage Gallery. It was perplexing to see how a gallery next to a fire station showcased about firefighting in Singapore since the 19th century.
It looked just like a normal entrance for fire engines – the gateway – but it opens into a peaceful space of the gallery and I was rather excited to find out a tour around the gallery is free and I put my name down to have an entrance!
The tour started with a rather cramped room showcasing the engines and history of fire fighting. This includes steam-powered engines.
Right on the left side of the entrance, there was this ladder that opens to the reception area on the other side, which I reckoned was quite cool to make the whole tour a realistic kind of feel.
Right in the middle of the tour, I jumped! It was due to a sudden realization that the ringing sound I kept on hearing when I started the tour was actually from a phone – an actual phone! Well, not that actual to be truth. It was an exhibit and it kept on ringing! It felt creepy at first but in the end I decided to ‘pick up the phone’. On the other end of the phone – or rather, the exhibit shows – people reporting fire using phone. It did wake you up for a while, of how different fire fighting would have been if phones and communications were not as today.
On the same floor, the area was rather small but was well arranged for all the display to be done. I was amazed by how much they managed to show in just such a small space. It was like having a walk on a treasure-filled tour where you get to find interesting objects in within ten steps.
There were simple exhibits of things used by the civil defence forces as their tool or part of their equipment.
Not only that, I was quite surprised to get the chance to witness so many different kind of vehicles for fire fighting or civil defence. I mean, we grew up with that standard one and it was just wonderful to get to see so many variety of vehicles!
The second floor started with few simulations of rescue scenes, including the civil defence vehicle and something that looked like rescuing from a rubble of buildings.
At one side of the exhibition gallery, there was a simulation of rescue in high building. It was a mixed feeling to see this exhibit as it reminded me of something dark. Perhaps, I was thinking of 911 but yea it just gave me a lot to think about.
I was lucky enough to try on this. Putting half my body through the suit, I was given the pour of water while my task is to stretch to the other side to turn off the water supply. I have no idea if it is because it IS a difficult task or it is because my hand did not match the suit right, I had to spend some time to truly complete my task. But nonetheless, the protective suit did worked well as I was not wet at all after all the task!
On one side of the wall, I saw two mini suits of fire fighters. It was for photography purposes only and it was a pity the size was immensely small or I would have tried one on, haha!
This is the warning system, which is also the station telling of the different kind of warning signals and their meanings.
Basically it was a great adventure, a surprising finding since I had not expect such an extensive tour for a building like that. Guess I had not done my research properly to find out it was actually some really important fire station, that’s why – but still, I appreciate such opportunity.