NEIGHBOURS could only stand by and watch as screams echoed from inside a burning home in which a mother and her two adult children died on Monday night.
The blaze, which police believe was deliberately lit about 11.18pm, destroyed the corrugated iron and timber house at Nanuku settlement, Vatuwaqa in Suva.
Keshni Narayan and her two children Nitin and Khusboo Narayan, who were inside the house, could not escape as the fire quickly engulfed their home.
The National Fire Authority officers received a fire emergency call after 11pm which they immediately attended to. Firefighters fought hard to extinguish the fire, stopping it from spreading to nearby houses.
Neighbour Navnesh Kumar said Mrs Narayan, operated the family canteen, while her daughter and son worked in Suva.
Mr Kumar said the Narayans were good people and it was sad to see them die a terrible death.
He said a lot of people were around the house when the incident occurred but they were helpless. He said the fire had also spread quickly to a neighbour's home.
Nanuku Community Watch Council member Rajend Udit said they were watching movies at night when they noticed people running towards the Narayan's family home.
Mr Udit said people tried to help but it was hard to get to the woman and her children because the heat from the fire was intense.
"It was saddening to see members of the community die in such a horrific incident," he said. "We had to provide accommodation for the other family that was left homeless after the fire had spread to their home on Monday night."
Police Spokesperson Inspector Atunaisa Sokomuri said they had a suspect in police custody and investigations were continuing.