FIREFIGHTERS could not save a house but stopped the fire that destroyed it from spreading to neighbouring homes in Suva yesterday.
Last night, firefighters were investigating the cause of the blaze which engulfed the Kumi St home in Nasese at around 4pm.
Homeowner Iva Tavaiga — who resides in the double-storey concrete and wooden-floor structure with her two daughters, her son-in-law and a cousin — was too distraught to talk.
Her cousin, Verenaisi Cokanivalu, said the fire started near the maid's quarters.
She said she was home with the house-girl when it broke out.
"The only thing that was on was the washing machine. I didn't see the machine throwing sparks but I have a feeling it started there," she said.
"We just saw smoke filling up the house and we ran outside. Benzene and some fuel is stored in the maid's quarters."
Jitendra Singh, a truck driver whose vehicle broke down next to Kumi St, said he saw the flames from the house reaching the treetops. He said he was in his truck when he heard crackling noises.
He saw smoke and followed it to find the burning home.
NFA spokesman Ritesh Kumar said officers would return to the scene today to continue investigations.
This takes the number of residential fires to 35 so far this year compared with 42 for the same period last year.