THREE coffins containing the remains of a woman and her two grown up children who perished in a fire on Monday lay side by side as hundreds paid their last respects in a tearful ceremony yesterday.
Close family members, colleagues, loved ones and relatives of the family wept in silence as the coffins were carried in.
One of the deceased was Fiji National Provident Fund staff member Parmesh Nitin Narayan, a 24-year-old lodgement conveyancing officer in its legal department. They died in their home as it was razed at Vatuwaqa, Suva, on Monday night.
FNPF assistant general manager member services Alipate Waqairawai described Mr Narayan as "an active, exciting, funny and hardworking guy who had the ability to put a smile on his colleagues' faces".
Para, as he was commonly known at work, was very hardworking and supportive, he said.
"He was one who volunteered to do things. He took part in everything that was done in the office," he said.
Mr Waqairawai said Parmesh was a fun-loving guy known for his jokes in the office.
Parmesh's brother-in-law, Ganesh Maharaj, who came from Australia, said the three were of a very jovial personality.
Mr Maharaj said he came to Fiji on holiday to spend time with the family.
"I did not know that such a tragedy would strike our family. I was in Nausori when I was called and notified about the fire. I rushed to the scene but the house was already engulfed in flames," he said.
Mr Maharaj said his 48-year-old mother-in-law, Keshni Narayan, and 28-year-old sister-in-law, Khusbu Narayan, had an open heart and were supportive.
"My mother-in-law was a very nice lady. She was going through a lot but kept her family together," he said.
Mr Maharaj said his mother-in-law would have celebrated her 28th wedding anniversary today.
"She always protected her husband and kids. Three precious lives have been lost unnecessarily," he said.
He said his sister-in-law Khusbu had a good job and was always cheerful.
Mr Maharaj said the family was still in shock with their sudden loss.
Meanwhile, Naresh Narayan, who is alleged to have torched the home, has been admitted to the St Giles Hospital.
Police spokesman Inspector Atunaisa Sokomuri said doctors diagnosed him as mentally unstable because he had not taken his medication for a few days.
Insp Sokomuri said a post mortem examination conducted on the three deceased showed the cause of death was from 100 per cent burns.