A HOUSE fire in Naevuevu Village in Nadroga on Saturday night claimed the life of a 53-year-old man who had been trapped inside the burning home.
NFA chief executive officer John O'Connor said the four-bedroom house was badly destroyed in the blaze.
"Our first priority was to save the deceased, which our officers managed to do but unfortunately, he was pronounced dead upon arrival at the Sigatoka Hospital," Mr O'Connor said.
"The deceased was sleeping when the fire started. Our officers were also assisted by the Shangri-La's Fijian Resort fire officers in trying to put out the fire," he said.
Eyewitness and Naevuevu villager Jo Ratukana said villagers were awakened by the noise when the fire started.
He said the deceased was asleep and trapped inside while his brother and house owner Rusiate Nabalabala managed to escape.
"The villagers tried to put out the fire but it was very windy," Mr Ratukana said. "The fire officers also arrived and tried to put out the fire but no household items were saved. The building was badly destroyed."
Mr O'Connor said the fire was caused by a candle and has reminded members of the public to always take precautions.
The fire death toll now stands at seven compared to one for the same period last year. There have been 53 structural fires this year.
He said despite the many awareness campaigns, people still failed to pay serious attention to their numerous reminders.
"It's high time for the people to seriously consider our many awareness campaigns in order to avoid such incidents.
"We are pleading with everyone to always take precautionary measures while dealing with fires. People should also make sure that stoves, mosquito coils, candles and other electronic appliances are turned off before going to bed.
"The safety of all family members should be paramount and it is our job to always take precautionary measures."
Meanwhile, Mr O'Connor confirmed they had completed their investigations into the fire that destroyed eight classrooms at Penang Sangam High School in Rakiraki last Friday.
"Our investigation shows that the fire was suspicious and we have forwarded our report to the police," he said.