Alexandra Fire Station
Alexandra Fire Station is Singapore’s third fire station. Built at a cost of $1,500,000, the Fire Station was officially opened on 25 February 1954 by then Governor of Singapore, Sir John Nicoll, to serve a rapidly expanding industrial area in Alexandra and train future firemen for the Singapore Fire Brigade. The station replaced the colonial Auxiliary Fire Brigade which had 15 officers and 60 firemen stationed at the nearby Archipelago Brewery Company.
The station comprised of a garage for four fire engines and an ambulance; repair workshops to replace the ageing facilities at Hill Street Fire Station; staff quarters for one officer-in-charge, 2 senior officers, 12 sub-officers, 50 married firemen and 24 single firemen; an imposing 164 feet fire tower used for hose drying, radio communication and as a look-out post to locate fires; a 20-foot deep well for testing the lifting powers of engine pumps; and recreational facilities for both firemen and their families. The curved frontage of the station was also specifically designed to give an easy turnout to engines rushing out to answer fire calls.
Haji Ahmad, 68, was one of the ex-fire fighters at Alexandra Fire Station. He recalled, “The Fire Station was the biggest in the 1960s. Nevertheless, my favourite spot in the station was a small pantry where all of us would gather for lunch every day. We would share jokes and polish our boots there!”Queenstown Neighbourhood Police Centre
The Queenstown Neighbourhood Police Centre (NPC) is Singapore’s first neighbourhood police centre. Based similarly on the concepts of community policing and modelled after the koban system in Japan, the original Police Centre at Commonwealth Avenue was officially opened on 20 December 1997 by then Minister for Home Affairs, Wong Kan Seng, to replace the Singapore Police Force’s Neighbourhood Police Post (NPP) system. The centre had 150 police officers.
Before Queenstown Neighbourhood Police Centre (NPC) was established, community policing lied under the responsibility of the Neighbourhood Police Post. Although the NPP has helped reduce crime rate since its initiation in 1983, its high number entailed extensive resources to spread over many installations. Pooling the NPPs into larger entities known as NPCs ensured “faster response, more immediate investigation, better counter service, more frequent patrols and a sharper community focus.”
In 2002, Alexandra Fire Station relocated to a temporary site at Tanglin Halt to facilitate the construction of a $30.6 million complex to house both the Singapore Civil Defence Force and the Singapore Police Force. This complex is the first of its kind which houses both the Singapore Civil Defence Force and the Singapore Police Force so as to provide a more integrated response against threats.