Contractor installs window grilles free for toddler who almost fell from balcony

Contractor installs window grilles free for toddler who almost fell from balcony
HELPFUL: (Left) Mr Muhammad Fazlee Abdul Aziz, carrying Naureh Fitria Auni, and renovations contractor Toni Woo, carrying Naureh’s older sister. (Above and inset) Mr Woo’s workers installed grilles for the family’s flat yesterday for free.

When Mr Toni Woo, 41, saw the video clip of a toddler dangling with her head stuck between a pole and the balcony outside a second-storey flat, he could not bear to finish watching it.

As a renovations contractor, he wondered how the child could have ended up in such a precarious situation and what safety features the home might lack.

When he found out from a mutual friend that the flat had no balcony and window grilles because the family could not afford them, Mr Woo decided to do his part to ensure such an incident does not happen again.

After contacting the family on Sunday to let them know his intentions, Mr Woo and his men went to their flat at Jurong East Street 32 yesterday to install the grilles for free.

Last Thursday, Naureh Fitria Auni, who will turn three in August, was asleep at home when her mother, Madam Noreen Saniri, took her older sister to school.

Her father, Mr Muhammad Fazlee Abdul Aziz, 28, who works in facility management for Singapore Mass Rapid Transit, was at work.

The toddler woke up while they were out and made her way past two doors to the balcony from where she fell while trying to retrieve an iPad that had dropped.

She was saved from falling to the ground when her head got stuck between the horizontal metal pole of a laundry rack and the balcony ledge.

As she hung precariously, two foreign workers, Mr P. Muthukumar, 24, and Mr S. Shanmuganathan, 35, scaled a water pipe to get to the second storey unit and freed her.

For their bravery, the Indian nationals were presented with a public spiritedness award by the Singapore Civil Defence Force last Friday.

The video of their heroic act has received more than two million views on YouTube.

Mr Woo, a father of three young children, told The New Paper yesterday: "It was excruciating (watching the video). I felt I was watching a horror movie.

"It's every parent's worst nightmare."

Mr Woo, who co-owns renovation firm Vivere Design Studio, felt compelled to reach out to Auni's family.

 

 

"I immediately knew I had to do something for them," he said.

"It could have been my own child in the video. That's why I offered to help."

Auni's parents were grateful and relieved after two workers installed grilles to the living room and bedroom windows and the balcony. Madam Noreen said she could finally have a peaceful night's sleep. 

Mr Woo, who declined to reveal the cost of the installation, said he was just doing his part.

"This is what I do. Since it's within my capacity, why not help them?"

He is not the only person who had offered to help the family.

ANOTHER OFFER

Miss Stephanie Tan, 24, who runs interior design firm Stylerider, was so affected by TNP's video interview with Auni's parents that she e-mailed this newspaper last Friday, offering to sponsor the installation of aluminium sliding grilles in the flat.

She told TNP the installation would have cost her around $700, but added: "It's not about the dollars and cents. The video was really heartbreaking.

"When I heard the father saying he couldn't afford window grilles, I empathised with him as I came from a low-income family."

For both Miss Tan and Mr Woo, the only thing that mattered was Auni's safety.

Said Mr Woo: "As long as the girl is safe, I'm happy. Now her mother won't have to worry so much."

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