I Remember – Bukit Ho Swee Fire

The big fire in Singapore history happened in the area near where I stayed as a child. It happened at the squatter settlement of attap and wooden huts in the Bukit Ho Swee area (Tiong Bahru road to Havelock road) on 25 May 1961.

I was three years old then and it left a deep impression in my consciousness. The squatter settlement was two streets away from Ganges Avenue where I lived (Nile Road and Havelock Road). I could see thick black smokes rising into the sky from our windows. The fire started at 3.30 pm and continued into the night (10 pm). We were very lucky that the blaze was brought under control at Delta Circus before it could reach us.

I remember my parents were very anxious. We stayed put and my mother started to gather important items from our home just in case we had to evacuate. I may have forgotten a lot of things when I was young. But this great fire was so impactful that I could recall it.


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