Ba fire a major loss to affected businesses – Local Govt Ministry

Fire at the Ba Central Arcade. Picture: FIJI POLICE FORCE

The fire in Ba on Sunday night is a major loss to the affected businesses during these challenging times.

Minister of Local Government Premila Kumar said the National Fire Authority (NFA) fire-fighters were quite responsive and managed to save the museum and the town hall.

“There has been no damage to these facilities. Despite the windy weather conditions, the quick and efficient effort by our NFA team is appreciated. The outstanding continuous work by our fire-fighters is commendable, as the impact of the fire could have been extremely detrimental,” Mrs Kumar said.

“Unfortunately, the cause of the fire is still unknown at this stage and the cost of the damage is yet to be determined,” she said.

“Out of the eight shops in the arcade, six shops had tenants and were occupied.

“The arcade accomodated a fish store, a salon/billiard room, a second hand clothing store, an electrical appliance shop, and two restaurants.

“There were also a total of eight market vendors who were housed at the Arcade.

“These vendors were situated at the SME Market at the Arcade and were selling Curio and Handicraft for their livelihood.

“It is rather disturbing to note that all their stock was destroyed by the fire.

“The number of fires in the country is alarming and becoming a concern. As per the statistics from NFA, there have been 57 fire incidents from 1 January to 1 August 2021. 55 were residential fire incidents and two were commercial fire, including yesterday’s incident. Sadly, there have been four deaths in the residential fire incidents so far this year; three in Nadi and one at Tacirua,” she said.

“We would like to reiterate that we need to be responsible and keep our homes and commercial properties fire-safe at all times,” said Mrs Kumar.

The Ba Central Arcade Building is a 17 year old structure and was insured after a proper valuation of the properties carried out in 2020.

Nevertheless, the Ba Town Council has a loan of approximately $1.6 million, which needs to be paid off.

The Council has been directed to work on practicable strategies to pay off the exorbitant amount of loan considering the difficult times we are in right now.




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