Sombre send-off for firefighter who died in line of duty, Latest Singapore News - The New Paper

Sombre send-off for firefighter who died in line of duty

As the casket of Captain Kenneth Tay Xue Qin arrived at Kong Meng San Phor Kark See Monastery at about 9.15am on May 20, a heavy hush fell over the temple grounds.

The hearse carrying the flag-draped casket rolled forward on the wet road, followed closely by a contingent of officers from the Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF).

The only sounds that could be heard was the music from the marching band and the slow shuffle of the send-off party.

Lining the road were about 100 SCDF officers, standing at attention and saluting their fallen colleague as he was sent on his final journey.

As the crematorium hall filled with family and friends, CPT Tay's parents, who are in their 60s, were waiting to receive their only child and bid their final farewell.

The Last Post bugle call was sounded to signify the end of CPT Tay’s duty to the nation and a minute of silence was observed.

SCDF Commissioner Eric Yap handed the folded state flag to CPT Tay’s parents before final rites for the 30-year-old rota commander's cremation commenced.

The sorrow was palpable as his parents walked away, clutching the flag. 

CPT Tay died on May 16 after a firefighting operation on board China-flagged tanker Sheng Hang Hua 6 that was anchored at Raffles Reserved Anchorage in the south-west of Singapore.

The rota commander was moving around the smoke-logged engine room with a thermal imager to detect hot spots within the room while the firefighter he was working with directed a water jet towards the source of the fire.

CPT Tay was found lying at the bottom of a staircase that led down to a lower platform of the engine room at about 4am. He was evacuated and pronounced dead about a couple of hours later.

An ex-officer who was with SCDF for 10 years, told TNP he was very sad to read about CPT Tay's death.

"My son is currently an SCDF national serviceman and I do feel a bit nervous when he is at work, even though I myself spent many years as a firefighter. I can only imagine the anguish felt by CPT Tay's parents," he said.