THE National Fire Authority (NFA) has recorded seven deaths from property fires so far this year compared to one in the whole of last year.
This has prompted the authority to make a fresh plea to the public about the need to be extra cautious when handling flammable substances.
Of the seven deaths, three died in Nakasi, one in Sigatoka, another at Namadi Heights in Suva and two in Savusavu.
NFA CEO John O'Connor said they attended to 53 property and structural fire calls nationwide as of last month compared to 60 in the same period last year.
Mr O'Connor said 18 cases this year were caused by unattended cooking. Other causes were electric faults and fire ignition sources like candles, lamps, mosquito coils and prayer diya.
"The authority is very concerned at the high number of deaths caused by fire -there is a need for people to seriously take heed of such warnings and advice," he said.
"This year, the officers have doubled their awareness programs in schools, business houses and rural settlements in our bid to prevent mishaps from occurring."
Mr O'Connor said fire ignition sources must be put out completely before people went to bed or left their homes.