National Fire Authority (NFA) has highlighted its concern on the increase in the number of deliberately lit property fire cases in 2013.
Last night, three people lost their lives in a house fire incident at Nanuku Settlement in Vatuwaqa.
NFA Suva received the fire emergency call at 2318hrs and immediately responded. Upon arrival at 2329hrs, the fire team saw the house fully engulfed in flames. The fire had also started to spread to a nearby property.
Firefighters fought hard to extinguish the fire and stop it from spreading to the nearby houses in the settlement. The fire teams from Suva and Valelevu successfully extinguished the fire and also prevented it from spreading to other properties despite the houses being very close to each other.
The fire claimed the lives of three people, mother and her two children who were in their mid twenties.
NFA is treating the property fire and the fire deaths as suspicious and is working closely with Police to determine the cause of fire and the fire deaths. Preliminary investigations indicated that there was a family argument during the afternoon which could have lead to the fire.
NFA CEO John O’Connor highlighted NFA’s concern on the recent increase in the deliberate setting of properties on fire this year.
“This year NFA has attended to seven deliberately lit or arson fire cases which has become a concern to the NFA.
“This issue is becoming a serious concern to NFA. Last week, NFA attended to the similar house fire case in Ba where a man lost his life and yet again last night’s fire has claimed three lives.
“This property fire deaths has increased the number of house fire deaths to five this year and NFA is concerned that these deaths are outcome of deliberate set fires and possible family arguments.
“Last night as a result of this house fire incident, there were a few other houses which could have been destroyed and the lives of other members of the community put at risk,” Mr O’Connor said.
“Our plea to all the members of the community is to refrain from starting fires as fire is the most dangerous disaster that is hard to stop when it starts.
“People should never start fires with the intention to harm themselves because they are putting at risk the lives of their families and other members of their community and their properties,” Mr O’Connor said.
“Our lives are precious nor can it be replaced and setting fire to a property is not the solution to any problems.
“Our humble plea to all members of the community is to refrain from resorting to the burning of their homes or someone else’s property.
Mr O’Connor is urging members of the community to seek professional guidance when facing problems rather than resorting fire related activities to harm someone.