Singapore Fire Brigade

Singapore's first fire-fighters formed a brigade in 1869 and was officially recognised as the Singapore Fire Brigade in 1888. The current fire-fighting force is known as the Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF).

A Fire Committee was formed on 20 December 1855 but the first fire brigade was not established until 10 April 1869. Prior to this, fires were attended to by uniformed groups which included the police, sepoys, marine soldiers and even convicts. On 7 September 1869, the Governor Major-General Sir Harry St. George enacted the Fire Ordinance and appointed the Colonial Engineer as Chairman or President of the Fire Commission for Singapore. The first members of this voluntary Fire Brigade included notable estate owners such as W. H. Read, Thomas Scott, R. Macpherson, W. Maxwell and C. Dunlop. Poor organisation under difficult circumstances racked the voluntary Fire Brigade until its demise in 1884. In 1888, the Singapore Fire Brigade was established and with sufficient funding, gained recognition as a fully equipped professional brigade.

By 1909, there were a total of three built stations servicing Singapore, namely Central Fire Station at Hill Street, Cross Street and Kallang Fire Stations. In 1980, the Singapore Fire Service (SFS) became the official name for the brigade. Today's Singapore Civil Defence Force was formed in April 1989 with the merger of two services - the Fire Service and the Civil Defence Force.

Bonny Tan

Hon, J. (1988). 100 years of the Singapore Fire Service (pp. 2-15). Singapore: Times Books International.
(Call no.: RSING 363.378095957 HON)

Remembering the history of the Fire Service: SCDF: How it came about. (1998, September 15). The Straits Times, p. 28.

Singapore Civil Defence Force. (n.d.). About us: Background. Retrieved December 4, 2002, from

The information in this article is valid as at 2002 and correct as far as we are able to ascertain from our sources. It is not intended to be an exhaustive or complete history of the subject. Please contact the Library for further reading materials on the topic.

Civil defense-- Singapore
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Fire departments--Singapore

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