A 55-YEAR-OLD canecutter and his wife from Nabekavu outside Labasa are trying to come to terms with the loss of their house which burnt down on Tuesday afternoon.
Nabekavu resident Subash Chandra said he had finished work in the cane fields at midday and was at home when he was recalled by his cane gang to reload the cane properly because it was falling off the truck.
Mr Chandra said he met his canecutting gang at the Waiqele Sector Office and was later called by his neighbour with the news that his house was on fire.
"I could not believe my ears since my wife had also left for town and nobody was home at the time the fire started," he said.
Devastated housewife Khatija could not stop her tears as she recounted the incident.
"I had just arrived in town about 10am when I received a call that our house had burnt down," she said.
"I could not believe what I heard as I had ensured that the house was safely secured before I came to town.
"My husband and I do not have anything and we are poor canecutters. I am worried about our future."
Mrs Khatija said they were staying with neighbours but would soon need to leave and fend for themselves.
"We are seeking assistance from the people of this country as we have no home, clothes or food," she said.
Police spokeswoman Ana Naisoro said the couple's three-bedroom timber and roofing iron house was razed.
Ms Naisoro said the house was valued at about $50,000.
"The house was vacant as the 55-year-old farmer had gone to cut cane near Waiqele while his wife had gone to Labasa Town.
"According to a 27-year-old witness, he noticed smoke coming out of the sitting room area about midday.
"Investigations to ascertain the cause of fire are continuing."