Recent Fires Prompt NFA Investigations, Urgent Calls for Fire Safety Practices

NFA is investigating three recent structural fires: one at Vagadra Village, another at Navuso Agricultural Technical Institute, and a residential fire at Qeleloa, with the total cost of damage estimated at over $130,000.

The Qeleloa fire last Friday evening damaged an uninsured double-storied residential property which was home to 10 adults and six children with the owner residing overseas. The building housed seven flats. There was 75% damage to the structure with an estimated cost in the vicinity of $80,000.

At Vagadra, on Sunday evening, the community managed to control the fire, using the bucket brigade method, before the fire crew arrived. The fire crew put out the hotspots before returning to the station. The two-bedroom corrugated iron and timber house belonged to a 36-year-old villager and was occupied by three adults and three children. The property sustained 85% of the damage with an estimated cost of $50,000.

Earlier in the day, at 5.33 am, the Navuso fire destroyed two classroom blocks, three offices, and a laboratory, with the cost of damage still to be ascertained.

NFA Chief Executive Officer Puamau Sowane praised the villagers at Vagadra for putting what they learned into practice but warned members of the public to always practice fire safety and exercise precaution.

“It’s fortunate that there were no injuries or lives lost. However, members of the public need to ensure that they do what they can within their homes to prevent fires,” he said. “These homes were the result of years of hard work and lifetime investments that were wiped out in a moment of raging fire. Our plea is for members of the public to practice simple things such as properly storing flammable materials, ensuring that mosquito coils are placed on non-combustible materials or surfaces and teaching family members what to do in case of a fire.

“We also urge members of the public to call our 910 toll-free emergency line in the first instance to ensure we respond in a timely manner and put out fires as quickly as possible.”

Photo: National Fire Authority

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