Central Fire Station

Singapore, Singapore | C.1908

Photo Credit: Kenny Gunawan

The Central Fire Station is the oldest existing fire station in Singapore. Located at Hill Street in the Museum Planning Area, the station also houses the Civil Defense Heritage Gallery, displaying the history of firefighting in Singapore.

Though 19th century Singapore was plagued by fires, the fire department at the time was only a loose organization of poorly trained men. It wasn’t until 1888 that the Municipal Commission created the first organized team of firefighters. The first purpose-built station followed soon after, but both proved inadequate.

However, in 1904, professional firefighter Montague William Pett arrived from England and became the superintendent of the Fire Brigade. Pett retrained the force and championed the construction of a modern fire house, obtaining government funds for the building. 

Architect William Ferguson designed Central Fire Station with a distinctive red-and-white brick facade, nicknamed “blood and bandage.” The 3-story complex included an engine house, living quarters for the crew, repair shop, carpentry shop, paint room, training yard and lookout tower. When it opened in 1909, the station boasted four portable water pumps and a squad of fully motorized fire trucks. 

The station was granted National Monument Status in 1998, and became home to the Civil Defense Heritage Gallery in 2001. It is still a fully operational fire station, serving the central business district and Chinatown.

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