Six Diwali-related fires occurred in Fiji over the last four years, prompting the minister responsible to issue an advisory urging extra precaution ahead and immediately after Sunday’s celebration.
Diwali will be celebrated on Sunday, 15 November this year.
Of the Diwali-related fires, one fatality was recorded, in 2018 stemming from one of two fire incidents that happened in the West, a scenario Minister for Local Government, Housing Premila Kumar said should not be repeated.
“With the festive season just around the corner and Diwali celebrations just a few days away, I wish everyone a happy Diwali. I also urge everyone to take great care when handling fireworks and lighted candles,” Kumar said.
“Diwali is usually a time where we see an increase in fire incidents, but for this year we do not want anyone to have their celebrations ruined. I, therefore, urge members of the community to be extra careful, parents please supervise your children when playing with fireworks and keep those diyas away from curtains and other flammable materials.”
National Fire Authority Chairman John O’Connor echoed the same sentiments, highlighting past trends that indicated that almost all of the Diwali-related fires occurred immediately after the Diwali Day proper.
The other Diwali-related fires were recorded in the central and northern divisions – one fire in 2016, two in 2017 – one each in the North and the West; and one in 2019 in the Central division.