Welcome to the Local Heroes series, where we highlight inspiring stories by people in Singapore who are using their skills to do good.
A man by the name of Aaron Wong is appealing for assistance to help his neighbours, whose house was destroyed in a fire on 30 April. According to Wong's Facebook post, no one was home when the Telok Blangah Crescent unit caught fire, but “despite the amazingly quick response of the SCDF, it was too late, and the house was completely gutted.”
He added, the fire took place at about 5pm on 30 April and was only declared safe at 7pm. The house and corridor were left blackened after firefighters from the Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF) arrived to put out the fire.
Wong’s neighbour reached home after being contacted by the authorities, and upon seeing the house, the “screams and cries from a woman who literally just lost everything she owned was gut-wrenching to hear,” Wong wrote. With “nothing left to salvage and nowhere for them to stay”, some of the neighbours extended a helping hand and provided them with clean clothes, a place to wash up, and a place to sleep for the night.
Wong, who sells mee hoon kueh, also shared that as his neighbour comes from a low-income family, the following days were spent trying to clean the house by themselves without water and power. The family could not hire extra hands to help with the clean-up, and they did not have any insurance. While they had “contacted the town council, MP, and HDB for assistance”, Wong noted that “the response is sluggish at best and leaves much to be desired” and that the “town council had sent a contractor to fix the electrical damages so they can at least have basic power. But that is it.”
Appealing in his post for “an electrician, a plumber or a contractor” to help his neighbours with their skills and services, Wong added that the family do not want to receive money, “but I think Ikea or Ntuc vouchers would be very helpful. That way, they can get what they need to get back in their feet.”
Within 24 hours of his post, which to date had generated more than 2,400 shares, Wong updated that they had secured electricians, plumbers, painters, and contractors to help assess the damages, and many had reached out offering appliances and furniture. “For in this short 24 hours, a seemingly hopeless situation turned into a story of kindness and hope as countless individuals from all over the country came together to help a stranger in need,” he wrote.
“For those who still wish to help, please do not donate items as there is yet a place to store them,” Wong added, sharing that “Ntuc or Ikea vouchers of sorts are the way to go” as his neighbours “can buy what they need when they are ready.” Those who wish to do so can send Wong a private message so he can link them up by providing a mailing address directly to his neighbours.
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