THE National Fire Authority is considering penalising property owners who fail to adhere to fire safety measures.
In its attempt to prevent structural fires in the country, the NFA will be reviewing its legislation to prevent unnecessary fires.
NFA chief executive officer John O’Connor said a new legislation would be drawn up to penalise property owners whose houses caught fire because of owners’ negligence.
His comments came in the wake of a blaze that has left a Sigatoka family homeless after fire destroyed their four-bedroom house on Tuesday.
The fire is the third consecutive blaze to occur in the space of one week — resulting in the NFA looking at taking drastic steps like the planned introduction of penalties.
Mr O’Connor said despite numerous awareness campaigns and door-to-door fire safety advice programs, some property owners still failed to take heed as evidenced by the trend in structural fires this year which now stands at 56 compared to 60 for the same period last year.
“It is sad to see property owners still fail to follow simple fire safety measures resulting to the alarming structural fire statistic,” said Mr O’Connor.
“The increasing number of fires has prompted the authority to review our legislation and to look at the option of penalising property owners who showed negligence resulting in property fires.
“At the moment we don’t have a provision that allows us to penalise property owners but we are reviewing our policy in an attempt to prevent structural fires. Our officers have visited villages, schools and tikina and provincial meetings promoting fire safety but unfortunately they are still occurring,” he said.
Mr O’Connor said preliminary findings from the Sigatoka fire showed that it was caused by an electrical fault.