NATIONAL Fire Authority CEO John O'Connor is pleading with members of the public to refrain from obstructing firefighters from carrying out their duties during fire incidents by standing too close or around a fire scene.
Mr O'Connor made the comments after a large crowd gathered at a fire scene at the Samabula Muslim League Settlement where a midday fire completely destroyed four lean-to flats on Monday.
He said members of the public should know that when they stood around a fire scene, they not only pose a serious threat to the firefighters but to themselves as well.
"Unfortunately in Fiji, when there is a fire, instead of running away from the fire, people run towards the fire scene. Considering the location and access yesterday (Monday), members of the public could have easily injured themselves," Mr O'Connor said
"And that is a concern for NFA. Firstly, it obstructed the firemen's operation in trying to put out the fire. We were running up and down trying to fight the fire and we were also concerned about the people who were standing around the area.
"Even the children were running around and we are urging parents and members of the community that when there is a fire, they need to get as far away from the fire to ensure their safety and also to prevent injuries, and importantly to allow the firefighters to do their job."
Mr O'Connor said people needed to get away from the normal culture of watching fire incidents and other natural disasters from happening.
"Even on the road, we had difficulty and we must thank Fulton and Hogan for stepping in and directing traffic allowing our fire trucks to reach the location."