Firefighters had to climb 152 steps and connect 18 lengths of hose to battle the Kusu Island blaze

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Their caretaker, Mr. Ishak Samsudin, 60, said the shrines will need to be rebuilt.

SCDF investigations later showed that the fire was not deliberately started.

The three shrines, also known as keramat, are dedicated to a pious figure named Syed Abdul Rahman, his mother, Nenek Ghalib, and his sister, Puteri Fatimah Shariffah.

Sgt Ramanathan said his team was then joined by five other firefighters from Marina Bay Fire Station, who brought in a second set of hoses to help put out the flames.

Among them were Warrant Officer Zainul Arifin Isman, 31, and Sergeant Abu Zar Al-Ghifari Othman, 21.

Warrant Officer Arifin, who did not have time to break his fast before rushing to the fire, said clear communication is essential between firefighters in complex and difficult conditions.

“We have to speak in plain and simple terms to make sure everyone is on the same page.

“I was also paying special attention to Abu Zar as it was only his third assignment after completing his leadership course,” he added.

Major Landon Leong, 36, commanding officer of Brani Fire Station, and Major Muhammad Shafi Rafie, 36, commanding officer of Marina Bay Fire Station, said their posts planned and practiced the fires in the southern islands.

Major Leong said his firefighters are prepared and familiar with the islands, which include the recreational hotspots of St John and Lazarus islands.

However, there had not been a fire of the magnitude seen on Kusu Island on Recreation Islands for as long as he could remember, he added.

Mr. Ishak, the caretaker, said rebuilding the shrines could cost several thousand dollars.

He added that the cost of construction on the island is almost triple that of the mainland.

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